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

Investigate one factor which affects the time taken for a paper cone to fall a known distance.

Extracts from this document...


GCSE Physics Coursework- Terminal Velocity


The aim of this investigation is to investigate one factor which affects the time taken for a paper cone to fall a known distance.


Terminal velocity is the point at which air resistance becomes equal to the gravity acting on the object. There is no acceleration accruing when an object reaches terminal velocity, however the object continues to move at a constant speed.

Two factors affect terminal velocity of an object, the weight and the surface area. If an object is heavy and has a small surface area, then the object will take a long time to reach terminal velocity. However if the object is light and has a large surface area, it will not take long to reach its terminal velocity.


I will be investigating how surface area affects the terminal velocity of a card cone. I have chosen to investigate surface area because it is easier to be more precise and I will get a better range of results. If I investigated how weight (or mass)

...read more.



I predict that the larger the surface area the faster the cone will reach its terminal velocity. If there is a small surface area, the cone will fall faster, reaching its terminal velocity slower. This is because there is less air resistance compared to gravity due to the small surface area.

Obtaining- preliminary experiment

These are my preliminary experiment results from a drop height of two metres.


Surface area in cm²

Attempt 1 (s)

Attempt 2 (s)

Attempt 3 (s)

Averages (s)

























I found out that the best drop height was two metres because we got the best results with this height. I also found out that the larger angles do not have definite results, therefore I will not go above 140o.

...read more.


2 drop on the second attempt, causing the average for the three attempts to be higher. I would of liked to have taken the investigation further by investigating how weight affects terminal velocity so that I could be sure how these two variables affect terminal velocity together.


I think my results were reasonably reliable. There were some variables that I would have liked to have controlled a bit better, such as the drop height and drop method. The drop height was not exactly the same each time as it was hard to keep the rulers pointing straight up, one on top of the other. Also I would ideally have liked a mechanical drop method, which released the cone from exactly the same height each time and did not help the cone to fall in any way. Our experiment may not have been fair in that respect because we took terns in dropping the cone, therefore each having our own ‘precise’ way of dropping it. The same goes for our timing. We each took terns timing and everyone’s reaction times are different and it is therefore difficult to time the drop exactly as it is.

...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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

This is a good attempt at a report on a practical.
1. The introduction is well written but very brief.
2. The apparatus and fair testing sections are good.
3. The data is well presented in the tables but the graph is missing.
4. The conclusion does not cover all of the necessary aspects required.
5. The evaluation is well written but should also suggest extensions and include the anomalous results.
*** (3 stars)

Marked by teacher Luke Smithen 22/05/2013

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. Determining the acceleration due to gravity by using simple pendulum.

    As the length increases the time taken also increases as predicted before. The graph above proves that gravity is 9.81m/ s�. You can calculate the acceleration due to gravity by calculating the gradient of the graph above. The graph shows an exponential curve because I have squared the time taken

  2. What affects the acceleration of a trolley down a ramp?

    There is no particular amount it decreases by each time because of slightly inaccurate results but is still decreasing. This is reflected in my velocity height graph where between 20 and 25cm heights the difference in velocity is very large and it gradually gets smaller as the height gets bigger bringing the graph round in a curve.

  1. Factors affecting acceleration

    I am able to make my prediction by using my own knowledge and information from textbooks. The greater the mass of an object, the greater force needed to accelerate it. Therefore when two objects fall in a gravitational field, although the object with twice the mass has twice the gravitational force acting on it.

  2. Investigation is to see how changing the height of a ramp affects the stopping ...

    The fact that the stopping distance increases when the height of the ramp increases could be down to many scientific reasons, one of these is G.P.E. When I change the height of the ramp, I also change the G.P.E along with it.

  1. Practical Investigation into the Horizontal motion of a Projectile

    However, we can calculate this using the distance results. Results Height(h) m Distance 1(m) Distance 2(m) Distance 3(m) Average Distance(m) Average Distance2(m2) 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.050 0.272 0.276 0.272 0.273 0.075 0.100 0.421 0.422 0.419 0.421 0.177 0.150 0.517 0.519 0.518 0.518 0.268 0.200 0.603 0.600 0.604

  2. To investigate how the angle of a slope affects the acceleration of a marble.

    It has to be derived from other measurements. The measurements required are starting speed, distance and time. I will use the formula: S=UT+0.5AT2 S = Distance (m) S=0T+0.5AT2 U = Initial speed=0 every time S=0.5AT2 T = Time (sec) 2S=AT2 A = Acceleration 2S/T2=A A=2S/T2 Method: Set up the equipment as shown above.

  1. Viscosity - Comparing the viscosities of different liquids.

    Using the G clamp I will attach the clamp stand to the table and make sure that it is in level and stable. Then I will clamp the cylinder on the clamp stand and ensure that it doesn't slip out.

  2. Report on Newton's laws of motion

    These observations discussed earlier in the experiment are summarized in Newton?s second law which states that, the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force acting on it and inversely proportional to its mass (Hewitt, 2010). Newton?s second law of motion is considered as the most important

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