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The aim of this experiment is to investigate what effect the surface area of a parachute has on the terminal velocity of the parachute.

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Science         KS 4 Practical Assessment         Parachutes        

Aim: The aim of this experiment is to investigate what effect the surface area of a parachute has on the terminal velocity of the parachute.

Theory: When a parachutist first jumps of a plane, he has very little air resistance and minimal velocity. So as he gains speed and this increases his air resistance, this in turn reduces his acceleration. Until the air resistance is balanced by the speed. But as the parachutist is falling very fast he opens his parachute, so his surface area increases a lot and because of the parachute air resistance of the parachutist is increases and this means that the velocity has to balance the air resistance and therefore decreases.

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The more the weight of the parachute is the faster the velocity should need to be in order to balance out the Air Resistance and therefore reach Terminal Velocity.

  1. Height

The height at which the parachute is dropped from.

The higher the parachute is dropped from the longer it should take for the parachute to reach the ground. As the parachute has a longer distance to fall.

Prediction: The variable that I will be changing is the Surface Area. I predict that when the surface area is reduced the speed will increase. I expect to get this result because there will be less air resistance air that can be trapped. So the velocity will need to be higher to balance the Air Resistance.  

Fair Test:

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ss="c8">My experiment was made up of a few simple steps, I have stated these steps below:
  1. At first I drew grids on my parachute for 3600cm2, 2500cm2, 1600cm2, 900cm2, 400cm2 and 100cm2.
  2.  The I cut the parachute down so that it had the surface area of 60cm * 60cm, so the parachute had a total surface area of 3600cm2.  
  3. Then I made the holes in all the corners. Through these holes I was also able to tie two strings (from opposite corner to opposite corner)



As you can see from the diagram above

  1. After tying the strings we can just attach the weights and tape them on.
  2. Once this is done

Aniruddh Kapoor 11 – T        

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Forces and Motion section.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

This is a good start to a report on an investigation.
1. The report is well structured and the information under the correct subheadings.
2. The aim, theory and variables sections are well written.
3. The fair test section contains a good amount of detail.
4. The hypothesis needs to be rewritten as the reasoning behind the science is not correct.
5. The method needs to be finished.
*** (3 stars)

Marked by teacher Luke Smithen 22/05/2013

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