• Join over 1.2 million students every month
• Accelerate your learning by 29%
• Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
1. 1
1
2. 2
2
3. 3
3
4. 4
4
5. 5
5
6. 6
6

# Find out how a variable affects the terminal velocity of a parachute.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

## Aim

The aim of this investigation is to find out how a variable affects the terminal velocity of a parachute, and how it alters the speed that the parachute falls.

## Theory

When an object falls in air, the air resistance opposing its motion increases as its speed rises, thus reducing its acceleration. Eventually, the air resistance acting upwards equals the weight of the object acting downwards. The resultant force on the object is therefore zero, since the two opposing forces are balanced. This is called terminal velocity.

Let us assume that the “explosion” image is the parachute. I will try to explain what happens as the parachute is released from a height.

1. The parachute is released. The initial velocity is zero.
2. The parachute starts to fall. The air resistance is small as the speed is small. The gravity remains the same.
3. The parachute starts to speed up, thus increasing the air resistance. However, the gravity is still larger than the air resistance and the parachute continues to accelerate down.
4. The parachute has accelerated to an optimum point where the air resistance

Middle

2.57

2.43

8

1.97

2.17

2.07

## Evaluation for Trial Investigation

This trial investigation has shown me that there are problems with my experiment. Firstly, the difference of 1g in mass does not affect the velocity greatly, and I have decided to increase the mass in 5g each. I have also decided to do 8 different masses. And instead of weighing 8 different weights, I shall weigh eight 5g plasticine and simply add on to the weights after each mass range.

Another I am going to change is the number of attempts I am going to do. I am going to do my experiment 3 times instead of 2 as it would be easier to find any significant/outstanding errors in the results.

The shape of my object, a cube shape is not ideal as moulding one is hard and can be inaccurate. I have decided to mould the objects into ball-shaped ones.

To make it easier for me to calculate the velocity of the parachute, I have chosen to change the height at which the parachute is released to 2m.

The holes in my parachute tore after a few tries as it were not reinforced, and the weight was tugging on it.

Conclusion

I did this experiment in a corridor, which was slightly windy, and the parachute could have dropped to the ground diagonally, and not 2 metres straight down.

I think this experiment was fairly accurate, as it fits my prediction. However, it could have been improved more if:

• The parachute was dropped at a greater distance
• This experiment took place in a windless environment, such as the gymnasium
• Use a computer to time how long it the parachute takes to land

There were enough readings for me to make a firm conclusion and my readings were fairly accurate. However, it could be made sure to be more accurate with more results and at a greater height.

To improve my experiment, I would like to try investigating how the surface area of the parachute would affect the terminal velocity of the parachute. I predict that as the surface area increases, the time it would take for the parachute to reach the ground would also increase. This would happen as it will have more air resistance and it would collide with more air particles, and therefore take a longer time to reach terminal velocity.

Parachute Investigation

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Forces and Motion section.

## Found what you're looking for?

• Start learning 29% faster today
• 150,000+ documents available
• Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
• Join over 1.2 million students every month
• Accelerate your learning by 29%
• Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

# Related GCSE Forces and Motion essays

1. ## The aim of this experiment is to investigate what effect the surface area of ...

3 star(s)

There is also a small time that it takes for the parachute to open up, before this time the parachute will be on freefall and this will decrease the time taken for the parachute to reach the ground. Apparatus: There is very little apparatus I need to conduct this experiment.

2. ## Squash Ball and Temperature Investigation

When the ball is heated, the heat energy given to the ball will affect the air molecules inside it, giving them more energy to collide and move faster and faster. This would result in more collisions of the air particles with the particles of the ball thus increasing the ball's overall air pressure.

1. ## The Area of a Parachute Compared To Its Rate of Descent

The variables have to be controlled so that they do not make this an unfair test, hence the name controlled variables. These variables are such things as the height from which the parachutes are dropped, the weight attached to the parachute and the type of plastic used to make the parachute.

2. ## Investigation on how the Surface area of a Canopy Affects the Rate at Which ...

I am going to investigate the surface area of the canopy because I think it has the greatest affect on the speed at which a parachute falls/ reaches its terminal velocity. This experiment will be accurate as it's repeatable, I will repeat each experiment 5 times and then work out an average.

1. ## The aim of this investigation is to find out how weight affects the terminal ...

Air resistance Weight Prediction: I predict that during the investigation the more the weight that is loaded onto the parachute the faster it will go. I support this with my last statement up above describing the theory. The parachute will have to fall faster to compensate for the extra weight.

2. ## Investigate the factors affecting the rate of descent of a parachute.

Masses- to change the weight of the parachute, String- it is light and easy to use. I intend to test the prediction by timing the fall of parachutes. For the first experiment I will use different surface areas and for the second I will use different masses.

1. ## To investigate the relationship between the velocity of a parachute and the drag force.

2.12 0.14 1.09 1.07 1.13 1.10 2.59 2.35 0.16 0.91 1.08 1.10 1.03 2.77 2.69

2. ## An investigation into the terminal velocity of steel ball bearings as they pass through ...

F is less than w, resultant force = w-f downwards Terminal velocity 0 reached when F=w, resultant force is zero: w-F=0 so there is not acceleration The frictional forces oppose the motion. The magnitude of the frictional force increases from zero with the speed of the falling object When an

• Over 160,000 pieces
of student written work
• Annotated by
experienced teachers
• Ideas and feedback to