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Investigate the Factors that Determine theTerminal Velocity of a 'Helicopter'.

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Introduction


AIM:image03.pngimage04.pngimage00.png

My aim is to investigate the factors that determine the terminal velocity 2of a ‘helicopter’ using different amounts of card and paperclips.

VARIABLES:

I plan to use the following two variables:

1        I will vary the weight of the ‘helicopter’ by changing the amount of paperclips added to the bottom.

2        I will vary the area of the wings of the ‘helicopter’ by changing their length.

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE:

 Newton’s Law of Drag says that air resistance is proportional to velocity squared for a moving body. The air resistance equals the body’s weight at its terminal velocity; therefore, air resistance is also proportional to the area of a body perpendicular to its motion. Therefore the larger the

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Middle

(s)

Time 2

(s)

Time 3

(s)

Average

Time

(s)

Terminal

Velocity

(m/s)

Terminal

Velocity 2

(m/s)2

1

1.14

1.43

1.45

1.49

1.46

2.04

4.16

2

1.54

1.29

1.25

1.25

1.26

2.35

5.53

3

1.94

1.13

1.10

1.10

1.11

2.68

7.16

4

2.34

1.00

1.00

1.02

1.01

2.95

8.70

5

2.74

0.94

0.93

0.90

0.92

3.22

10.35

6

3.14

0.86

0.85

0.89

0.87

3.43

11.74

Variable 2:

Area

of wings

(cm2)

Time 1

(s)

Time 2

(s)

Time 3

(s)

Average

Time

(s)

Terminal

Velocity

(m/s)

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Conclusion

2. As all of the points on my straight-line graphs were close to the trend line, I can be confident that my results are correct.

EVALUATION:

There are a number of factors that could have influenced my results, including inaccurate measuring and timing, convection currents and parallax errors. I did not find any extremely anomalous results, although not all of them fitted exactly onto my lines of best fit. I do  not feel that my measuring or timing were inaccurate, but there may have been a constant parallax errors and/or convection currents. Ideally, in future experiments of this nature, I would work in a lab with fewer people (so less heat) and no updraft, so as to keep convection currents to a minimum. I would also have more accurate timing methods, so as to prevent parallax errors.image03.png

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