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The purpose of this investigation is to collect details about how the weight of an object can affect the speed that a parachute drops.

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Alex Fox 10-3                26th June 2002

Physics: Parachutes Investigation

Planning: The purpose of this investigation is to collect details about how the weight of an object can affect the speed that a parachute drops. The main aims of the investigation are to find out the way that different forces act on objects when dropped. The forces that act upon the parachute are, gravity and air resistance. Gravity pulls the weight on the parachute down, and air resistance acts against the parachute. A diagram is shown below of how the different forces act on the objects. In this case the parachute and the weight:

The equipment I will be using to construct the parachute is as follows: 30cm x 30cm polythene sheet for the actual parachute, scissors for cutting string and polythene, string for tying weight to parachute and plasticine for the weight. First a 30cm x 30cm sheet of polythene was cut from a polythene sheet. Next, lengths of 30cm string were tied to each corner of the polythene sheet by making small holes in each corner and threading the string through and then tying it. The loose ends hanging down from

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Analysing and Considering Evidence:

Weight (grams)

Reading 1

Reading 2

Reading 3



1.26 secs

1.36 secs

1.67 secs

1.43 secs


1.08 secs

0.96 secs

0.90 secs

0.98 secs


0.76 secs

0.85 secs

0.77 secs

0.79 secs


1.36 secs

0.78 secs

0.70 secs

0.95 secs


0.81 secs

0.68 secs

0.65 secs

0.71 secs


0.60 secs

0.65 secs

0.61 secs

0.62 secs


0.60 secs

0.65 secs

0.71 secs

0.65 secs


0.65 secs

0.75 secs

0.62 secs

0.67 secs


The above graph shows all the results.

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        Further work could be carried out to obtain more reliable evidence. This may include not only researching one variable, but also systematically researching many variables and taking averages of these to obtain much more data. The variable factors that could be changed may include, height from which the parachute is dropped, preferably a lot higher than in these tests, so the chute has time enough to fully open. Another factor that can be varied may be the area of the parachute. In these tests we used a 30cm x 30cm parachute. I don’t feel that this was enough, as sometimes the parachute dropped and the chute didn’t open.

        So in conclusion I would say that the evidence collected from the procedure that was carried out was relevant in the sense of preliminary data. The data that I collected wasn’t enough to draw a firm conclusion from, but the data could be used could be used in further tests. Very basic preliminary tests were carried out before this procedure, but the data from the main experiment could be furthered by using it in further work. It could be used to change variable factors like I mentioned in the previous paragraph. So in the end this procedure would only be 100% reliable as very comprehensive preliminary work.

Physics                Coursework

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