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How Fast Does a Paper Cone Fall?

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"How Fast Does a Paper Cone Fall?" G.C.S.E Coursework, Physics. Planning, Outlining a simple procedure, Six paper cones will be made, one with a radius of 2cm, one with a radius of 4cm, one with 6cm, one with 8cm, one with 10cm and a final one with a radius of 12cm. The cones will be made by using a compass to draw a circle on a piece of paper. According to the radius required, the compass point's distance from the pencil will be measured and changed using a ruler. Once the circles are drawn they will be cut out and folded over themselves by a quarter of their circumference to form cones. They will be sellotaped in place, and are now ready to be dropped. A measuring tape will be attached to the wall and the cones dropped from the two meter mark of the measuring tape. The cones should be dropped facing downwards with the rim level with the two meter mark. When the cone is dropped a stopwatch will be started, the stopwatch is started by the same person who drops the cone to achieve maximum accuracy, the stopwatch is stopped the moment any part of the cone touches the ground. If the cone hits the wall or any other object on its way down, the measurement will be considered void, and that one will be re-measured. ...read more.


This must be done by not adding anything onto the cones and making sure each time the cone is dropped it is dropped from exactly the same height and in exactly the same fashion. Some factors which should not be changed are impossible for us to control with the equipment provided. Such as air currents changing, there being a split difference between the time the cone is dropped and the time the stopwatch is started and our cones being slightly off the required radius measurements. So these factors must be taken into account, and the results may not be 100% accurate and may have a few anomalous results. Prediction, I predict that as the surface area of the cones increases the time taken for them to reach the ground will increase. So I believe that the cone with a radius of 12cm will take longer to fall than the one with a radius of 2cm. This is because the bigger the surface area, the bigger the air resistance acting on it and because air resistance is greater, it will equal the cones weight sooner. This will mean the cone reaches its terminal velocity sooner and therefore the cone takes longer to fall. I believe all cones will reach their terminal velocity before they hit the ground because there is a relatively large surface area compared to the weight; however the larger cones will reach their terminal velocity sooner, and will take longer to fall. ...read more.


assuming no measurements are void. Each time a cone is dropped the time will be taken and recorded. When 3 measurements for each different sized cone have been taken, an average will be calculated, i.e.-the 3 times for the 2cm cone will be added together and divided by 3, giving an average, this is done to provide a more accurate and realistic result. Once all averages have been successfully made the experiment will be complete. If the experiment is carried out correctly in this way our prediction should be correct. Our prediction should be correct; because when the cone with the largest surface area, the 12cm cone, is dropped it should produce the most air resistance, and because terminal velocity is reached when weight equals air resistance and this cone has a large air resistance, terminal velocity should be reached quicker causing the cone to slow down quicker and reach the ground in a longer time than the smaller cones. We can apply this experiment to Newton's first law, as he stated that if balanced forces act on a moving object it will move with a constant velocity, and not accelerate. This is why when the two forces; weight and air resistance are equal the cone reaches terminal velocity, stopping it accelerating and increasing the time it takes to reach the ground. By David Grocott ...read more.

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