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

Investigating the effect of mass on a parachute

Extracts from this document...


Investigating the effect of mass on a parachute

Outline Plan

In this experiment, I will explore the factors, which affect the mass on a parachute.  I will use different masses to see whether a heavy mass will make the parachute fall down to the floor quicker than a smaller mass.


I believe that the heavier the parachutist is, the quicker the parachute will fall down to the floor and will reach terminal velocity.  Therefore, the air resistance will be larger than the lighter one.  I think this because when the mass is larger the parachute accelerates to a higher speed due to the terminal velocity being higher. Theory Velocity = Distance Time Acceleration = Increase in Velocity Time


I think that my prediction is correct because the heavier parachutist will have a large surface area to the lighter parachutist.  This will mean that both will have difference speeds of movement as air resistance affects them.

The force of gravity on both parachutists will vary.  The heavier parachutist will require a greater force to accelerate downwards.  However, the force of gravity varies with mass so that all falling objects are accelerating at the same rate.  The mass of the parachutist will depend on how quick it will go down.

...read more.



4th  Run





5th  Run





6th  Run





7th  Run





8th  Run





9th  Run





10th Run





After constructing a pilot test, I have come to the following conclusions to amend my detailed plan (method): I am no longer going to use a mass of up to 25g of plastercene in the experiment.  Instead, I will use six masses, which will go up in 2g so they will be 2g, 4g, 6g, 8g, 10g, and 12g.  I have altered the mass of plastercene because I found it difficult to record a result with the stopwatch as the cone went down too quick when 15g of plastercene was put into the cone.  Therefore, if I use up to 25g of plastercene it will be impossible to record an accurate result.  In addition, I am now going to use a clamp stand to keep the 2m ruler straight and still, which will mean that the height that the cone will is dropped from will be exactly 2m.  I am going to measure the plastercene every time I repeat the experiment because the mass might alter when fallen down.

I am going to amend the results table by putting an extra column with the heading ‘averages’.  I will be adding this extra heading because it will give a more accurate view, overall of the results I have obtained.  I will lastly change the masses of the table which will be ‘0g, 2g, 4g, 6g, 8g, 10g, and 12g.

Time Taken to fall down (in seconds)

Mass (g)








1st  Run

2nd Run

3rd  Run

4th  Run

5th  Run

6th  Run

7th  Run

8th  Run

9th  Run

10th Run


...read more.


To develop this investigation further, I could conduct an experiment of how the surface area of a parachute affects the speed.  This will link with the investigation I have done because mass and surface area both affect the speed of a parachute.   Also, I could get a range of different masses being dropped from a higher distance (e.g. 4 meters) and I could use heavier masses of plastercene and see the effects of the cone when the height is brought up and the mass is increased.

Mufaddal Inayathusein

...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. How Fast Does a Paper Cone Fall?

    Each cone will be dropped 3 times, 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 are taken, an average will be calculated, i.e.-the 3 times for the 2cm cone will be taken

  2. Find out how a variable affects the terminal velocity of a parachute.

    Evaluation Overall, I think my experiment went pretty well. My results were pretty accurate to a certain extent. However, as I have said before in my conclusion, the last few results seemed to be the same. This could be due to the height of which my parachute was dropped.

  1. The Area of a Parachute Compared To Its Rate of Descent

    The weight can then be tied on to the strings that are attached to the parachute. The parachute can now be taken to the 2.86m height and dropped. The parachute should be timed as it falls, and the horizontal distance from the point it was dropped should also be measured.

  2. Investigation on how the Surface area of a Canopy Affects the Rate at Which ...

    I used the average speed and the following formular:- Speed = Distance � Time Surface Area (millimeters) Distance (millimeters) Time (second) Speed (millimeters/second) 250mm by 250mm 4500 mils 1.79 2.51m/s 350mm by 350mm 4500 mils 2.08 2.16m/s 450mm by 450mm 4500 mils 2.56 1.76m/s 550mm by 550mm 4500 mils 2.85

  1. What is the effect of mass on friction?

    roughness of the materials rubbing against each other, deformations in the materials, and a molecular attraction between materials. If looked through a microscope, friction on the molecular level is due to the unevenness of the surfaces. The two surfaces would have bumps, hills and valleys that would interfere with the sliding motion.

  2. How does an increased surface area change the time taken for a mass to ...

    as listed above * Using a right angled triangle to make sure the ruler is 900 to the ground, place one 100cm ruler up against the wall and attach it to the wall firmly using sellotape. * Using the right angled triangle again, firmly attach the other 100cm ruler on top of the other 100cm to the wall using sellotape.

  1. Investigate the factors affecting the rate of descent of a parachute.

    the force of gravity According to this theory, the heavier the object, the faster the rate of descent. Method Equipment: Stop watch- I have chosen this method of timing because it is accurate and easy to use. Bin bags- they are a very flexible material and move through the air well.

  2. Paper parachute investigation - Investigating the relationships between the sizes of the cones, the ...

    Distance (m) Time (s) Velocity (m/s) 4.48 3.48 1.29 2.72 2.41 1.13 The 6cm diameter cone fell at a greater velocity overall when falling 4.48m than falling 2.72m. This shows that a difference in height will make a difference in overall velocity.

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