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Inertia Investigation

Extracts from this document...



To give myself a greater knowledge of the physics involved in this

experiment I have carried out background research. The area that my

experiment investigates is the affect of changing the surface area of an

object of the same mass falling from a specified height and how it changes

air resistance. Several factors of physics will affect my experiment and I

have researched these factors and I will show my findings in this first

section of my experiment.

Firstly Newton’s first law of motion states that an object will remain at a

constant velocity or at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it. When

an object is falling it is accelerating, unless it reaches terminal velocity

which I will explain later, so there must be an unbalanced force acting

upon it pulling it downwards. This downwards force is called gravity. The

force of gravity is determined by multiplying an objects mass in Kg by

9.81 as the gravitational force on earth is 9.81N/Kg. However when an

object is falling in a vacuum without air resistance in free fall there is still

another factor that must be taken into account this is inertia.

Inertia = the resistance an object has, to a change in its movement.

This means that the greater an objects mass the more force it will take to

change its movement as it will have a higher inertia and resistance to

another force changing its movement.

The force of inertia then cancels the affect of mass on the acceleration of

an object due to gravity. If an objects mass is 10Kg it will have a

downward force of 10 x 9.8 = 98N acting on it. If an object has a mass of

1 Kg it will have a force of 9.8N acting on it. But because acceleration =

...read more.


change then the amount of air particles hitting the falling object could

increase or decrease depending on how the density changes.

To decide which object I will drop I have done some preliminary work. I

decided to choose a range of objects and see how easy it would be to

time them falling and change there surface area without changing there

weight. Firstly I thought of using some kind of different sized balls such

as football squash ball etc. but found it impossible to keep there weight

the same also they tended to fall very quickly making it difficult to time. I

then thought of rather than changing surface area changing weight I tried

filling a tennis ball with various amounts of sand to change it weight it was

easy to do but again very difficult to time accurately over a small height. I

then decided to try paper I first found it difficult to keep weight constant

as I added glue to stick the write weight of paper together to make the

write surface areas but then found I could fold the same piece of paper

into different areas meaning the weight stayed exactly the same. I also

found this easy to time as it fell slowly. So I have decided to use paper for

the object I will drop.

In this experiment all the factors that I have mentioned will be controlled.

The only factor that will change is the surface area. I have chosen to

change this because I know that surface area affects air resistance and

therefore I will be able to change the surface area and if there is a change

in my results I will know that air resistance does have a significant affect

...read more.


drop straight down because of any slight movement in the air that

surrounded the test area. I also found it difficult to drop the paper and

time it by myself.

The way in which I conducted my experiment could have been better in

the following ways, when dropping the paper I used my eyes to judge

whether the height was the same and then dropped it with my hand, I

could have used a mechanism that dropped the paper in exactly the same

way from exactly the same height for each of my experiments. Also the

way in which I measure the time for the paper to drop could have been

better. The way in which I measured it was to judge with my eyes when

the paper was released and then when it hit the floor, I would start and

stop the stop-watch accordingly. I could have mad this more accurate by

using pressure sensitive sensors on the releasing mechanism and on the

floor that would start a stop watch.

Other variables such as the room temperature air density and any wind

could also be controlled better in my experiment. They could be measured

and kept constant for each experiment. My experiment could be extended

by controlling more data from the same variables that I used. I could use

another measuring device such as a ticker timer to measure acceleration

and velocity of the falling object at any point. This would mean that I

could use the equations that I have used more accurately and fully. I could

also conduct further experiments where I would try and accurately predict

the results using the formula and test it to see how accurate it is. I would

do this with other variables and test them.

Overall my experiment allowed me to answer the question that was put to

me and my results were accurate enough to allow me to make conclusions

that answered this question.

...read more.

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