• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How Mass Affects Terminal Velocity.

Extracts from this document...


How Mass Affects Terminal Velocity


        Plan:  In this investigation I am going to find out how the mass of an object affects its terminal velocity when it is falling. To do this I will drop a paper ‘parachute’ of given diameter from a given height each time changing its mass. I will measure the time taken for the parachute to fall a distance of 2 meters after allowing it to reach its terminal velocity over half a meter. I will start with a parachute of 10cm in diameter timing how long it takes to fall with no ballast then I shall increase the mass by 1 gram each time until I have added 5 grams of ballast. I decided to use these parameters after doing some preliminary testing.

        To make this a fair test I shall have to keep all variables the same except the ballast. I will use the same parachute each time dropping it the

...read more.


        I then needed to find an appropriate size of parachute to use. I found that a bigger parachute would fall more slowly than a smaller one so I decided to use a parachute of 10cm in diameter as this is the biggest parachute you can get from a single sheet of A4 paper. I wanted a parachute that would fall as slowly as possible so that any human error that could be made with the timing would be minimized.

        I also needed to find appropriate amounts of ballast to add to the parachute. I had already decided to use 5 different masses plus the un-ballasted parachute for my results so I needed a number that would easily divide by 5. I tested the parachute with ballasts increasing in half grams (0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5), ballast increasing in single grams (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and ballasts increasing in 2 grams (2, 4, 6, 8, 10). I found that the ballasts up to 10 grams fell too quickly to time efficiently and that the ballasts up to 2.

...read more.



        Although my experiment produced the results I expected it was not perfect and there were some anomalies. For instance there was some variation in the three different times for the same mass, this was probably due to different reaction times whilst timing. If I were to do the experiment again I might use a pair of sensors set at the top and bottom of the parachute fall which could time more accurately.

        Other anomalies could have occurred due to due to fluctuations in air pressure and temperature which in a laboratory situation could be controlled slightly more accurately. Also using a larger parachute over a longer distance would help the accuracy of the experiment as well as repeating the experiment a greater number of times with a greater number of different masses.    

...read more.

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

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Forces and Motion essays

  1. Investigating the effect of mass on a parachute

    A midpoint will appear after doing this. > Use the fold lines of the circle to cut one slit, cutting up to the midpoint. > Construct a cone out by moving the slit to a reasonable size. When happy with size, place the piece of cellotape on the slit so a cone is made.

  2. How Fast Does a Paper Cone Fall?

    be varied in this experiment, but if more than one factor is varied in this experiment, it would be unfair and our results would be inaccurate. The two main factors to vary would be the size or weight of the cones, however the height, direction or position the cone is dropped in could also be changed.

  1. Test the effects of using a parachute of varying surface area on the terminal ...

    This variable will be the size of the parachute. The mass will always remain a constant 10g. To be sure that a fair test is maintained, the experiment will be carried out in the same room on the same day, from the same height. This will ensure that all atmospheric conditions are the same.

  2. In this experiment I aim to find out how the force and mass affect ...

    I decided that the angle of the runway should be kept fairly small because I wanted to limit the speed of the trolley as it rolled down the runway so it wouldn�t travel to fast. This is important because at the bottom end of the runway the trolley had to

  1. Discover the effect that height and weight have on terminal velocity.

    We must also guarantee that the drag of each object stays the same, as increased drag, leads to decreased terminal velocity, and we don't want to measure drag in this experiment. Terminal velocity will then be calculated by using the equation, Speed = Distance/Time.

  2. The aim of this investigation is to find out what effect of increasing the ...

    Once I have obtained these results I will plot them on a graph. Measurements In this experiment I will take the following measurements: * Number of paper clips - 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 * Time the auto-gyro falling at 1metre at terminal velocity * Length and width of

  1. Mechanical Properties of a Meter Rule

    The plasticity of wood is increased by wetting, heating, and especially by steaming and boiling. Were it not for this property it would be impossible to dry wood without destroying completely its cohesion, due to the irregularity of shrinkage. A substance that can undergo little change in shape without breaking or rupturing is ~brittle~.

  2. An Investigation To Find Out What Effect The Weight Of A Falling Object Has ...

    Drop the paper cutlet. 5. When the paper cutlet passes the metre ruler, simultaneously start the stopwatch. 6. As soon as the paper cutlet hits the floor, stop the stopwatch. 7. Record the time down on a table. 8.

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