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Paper parachute investigation - Investigating the relationships between the sizes of the cones, the time taken to fall to the ground and ultimately the speed at which each cone falls.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Paper Parachute – 26/04/2007

Paper Parachute

Method

I will make several differently sized paper cones and time how long each cone takes to fall to the ground from the same height (2.72m). I can then investigate the relationships between the sizes of the cones, the time taken to fall to the ground and ultimately the speed at which each cone falls.

For this experiment, I will need:

  • Different sized circles,
  • Scissors,
  • Protractor,
  • Stopwatch,
  • Ruler,
  • Sellotape.

Before I start I must consider the most important factors in this experiment. The size of the cones; the change in size will create a change in air resistance and therefore affect the velocity. The amount of Sellotape we use will affect the weight of the cone and affect the results; therefore we must use proportionally the same amount of Sellotape for each parachute. The angle at which the cone is created will remain the same (60 degrees) throughout the experiment, as the angle will determine whether the cone is wide or narrow.

I will repeat the experiment 3 times and take an average to produce more accurate results. I will record the time the

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Middle

1.44

1.51

2

1.63

1.66

1.85

1.64

3

1.75

1.81

1.84

1.68

4

1.6

1.78

1.68

1.69

6

1.72

1.97

1.84

1.84

8

1.9

1.65

1.85

1.8

10

2.09

2.03

1.9

2.01

Conclusion

I have found that, in general, the larger the parachute, the more time it took to reach the ground. This means that it’s velocity was lower so I used the equation: Velocity =                 to work out the average velocity at which the

parachutes were travelling. Also, using my graph, I could work out the percentage difference from one cone to the next.

Cone size (cm)

Velocity (m/s)

1

1.8

2

1.65

3

1.62

4

1.61

6

1.48

8

1.51

10

1.35

image00.png


We can tell from both the chart and the graph that there were anomalies in this experiment.

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Conclusion

Terminal velocity is the speed at which the force accelerating an object through a particular medium is balanced by the drag slowing it down. This terminal velocity depends on the nature of the medium, and the shape and size of the falling object.

Less compact shapes will fall slowly because air resistance slows them down. With more compact shapes, the drag force is much less in relation to its weight, so it is slowed down much less. A falling object will eventually reach a speed where the drag force exactly equals the objects weight. At this point, the object stops accelerating, and it is said to have reacted its terminal velocity.

The force of gravity acts between any two masses, making them attract to one another. Everything on Earth is pulled down to the Earth’s surface by gravity; and this force gives objects their weight. Like other forces, gravity is measured in Newtons. The gravitational force exerted by the Earth is about 9.81 Newtons on every kilogram of matter on its surface.

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