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

Things that affect the speed of a falling parachute.

Extracts from this document...


Things that may affect the speed of a falling parachute are: * Parachute made wrong size * Hole on centre of parachute too small or too large * Strings wrong length * Timing on descent inaccurate * Wind affected parachute on descent * Holes made in wrong place The thing that I am going to control in this experiment is the surface area of the parachutes being dropped. Prediction My prediction is that, the larger the area of the parachute, the lower the rate of descent. This is because if the parachute is larger, it will trap more air underneath it and so the force of air resistance will increase, and it will take longer to fall. The smaller the parachute, the lower the force of air resistance is, therefore the greater the speed. The bigger the air resistance the quicker the terminal velocity is reached. The quicker the terminal velocity is reached the slower the terminal velocity is. The slower the terminal speed is the slower the decent. Terminal velocity is when the force acting down on an object (in this case gravity) is equal to the force acting up on an object (in this case air resistance). ...read more.


Following the first experiment, the second parachute can be made to similar proportions, but bigger. Diagram Surface area of parachute Time(sec) Average result 100cm� 1.2 1.3 1.1 1.3 1.4 1.26 200cm� 1.8 1.9 1.7 2 1.9 1.86 300cm� 2.6 2.8 2.7 2.7 2.5 2.6 400cm� 3.4 3.6 3.5 3.7 3.8 3.6 500cm� 4.1 4.2 4 3.9 4.2 4.08 Results Analysis I think that the graph showed that as the surface area got bigger the time the parachute took to reach the ground increased because as the surface area got bigger so did the air resistance and as the air resistance got bigger it equalled the force pushing down on it (gravity). When the air resistance equalled the force of gravity, the falling object had no resultant force. Having no resultant force means that the object will not speed up any further during its descent. If a mass has no resultant force it is moving at a constant speed in a straight line a. So the quicker the point of no resultant force is reached the slower the resultant force is because a mass is speeding up all the time that it is descending until it has no resultant force. ...read more.


I closed the windows and made as little movement as possible while conducting the experiment in order to prevent the wind from blowing the parachute. This was quite effective, as the wind could have easily blown the parachute off course or blown it up or down. I also used the same weight each time, in case the other weights were different weights, either by manufacturing fault or by usage of the weights, getting chips out of them or being otherwise damaged. This was useful because it made the test fairer, because lighter weights would make the parachute fall slower than normal, and bigger weights would make the parachute fall faster than normal. There was the problem of not have very accurate measuring instruments that could measure to the nearest millimetre accurately. The plastic was also very easy to fold and crumple, so it was not always flat, which could have changed the rate of descent again. As a further experiment to show that gravity is not the only force acting on the parachute is, if I were to conduct this same experiment in a vacuum because there is no air in a vacuum which means that there is no air resistance so all the parachutes no matter what there surface area would fall at the same rate and speed. Physics Coursework - Parachute investigation ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

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. The larger the area of the parachute, the lower the rate of descent.

    The holes should also be 0.5cm in from the edge of the parachute. The string can then be tied around the holes and the edge of the parachute. The string should be tied so that it leaves 3mm of string after the knot has been tied.

  2. Investigating the factors affecting the speed at which a parachute falls.

    One method we used to reduce timing errors was to count to three out loud before dropping the parachute. We did this to make sure that both the person dropping the parachute and the person timing knew when the parachute was going to start falling.

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

    Eventually the force of air resistance (the upward force) becomes large enough to balance the force of gravity (the downward force). The change in velocity terminates as a result of the balance of forces. At this time the net force is 0 N. Newton's first law tells us that objects will not accelerate if the net force is 0N.

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

    face prevent breathing all times teacher String choking or not When tying knots in string, keep Untie any restricting knots and allowing blood flow away from neck inform teacher Key Factors There are many variables in this experiment. The two main types of variable are controlled and manipulated.

  1. In this experiment I aim to find out how the force and mass affect ...

    and at the bottom all the potential energy has been converted into kinetic energy. Using this theory, we can say: Potential Energy (at the top) = Kinetic Energy (at the bottom) Page 118 and 119 of the same book explains how to calculate potential and kinetic energy: "A weight lifter

  2. Trolley Speed

    The following steps show you how to calculate the acceleration of the trolley using the ticker- timer tape. 1.) First cut the strip into 10- dot sections. Remembering that each section would take 0.2 s (= 10/50 s.) 2.) Them measure your first 10 - dot section with a ruler and write down measurement.

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

    1.87 1.78 1.91 450mm by 450mm 4500 2.53 3.09 2.82 I realised that if a parachute of 25cm by 25cm wasn't creating enough drag then my 2 smaller parachutes wouldn't stand a chance, they would be very unreliable and I wouldn't get suitable results from them.

  2. Investigate a factor that might affect the size of a crater made by a ...

    the experiment because the water accumulated on top and flooded into the crater making it impossible to measure, as a result, it has been decided that only 150ml of water will be added to the sand which is just enough to ensure it is wet yet with no accumulating over spill.

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