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To find out how the weight of a paper helicopter affects the terminal velocity.

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Introduction

Physics - Terminal Velocity SC1 Aim: To find out how the weight of a paper helicopter affects the terminal velocity. Apparatus: A5 Piece of Paper Stopwatch 1 metre measuring sticks Paper Clips Stool Scissors Ruler Scales Method: I will draw, cut and make a paper helicopter from an A5 piece of paper. I will then weigh the helicopter without any extra weight. The helicopter will then be dropped from the ceiling of the room and my partner will time how long it will take to reach the floor. In my preliminary work I discovered that the helicopter requires a few mille-seconds before it reaches its terminal velocity. This means we will have to start the timing of the helicopter after it has reached its terminal velocity. To avoid visual parallax when timing the helicopter we will focus on a certain point in the background which is level to our eyes and start the timer when the helicopter passes that point. We will add a paper clip to our helicopter after each set of times has been recorded until the helicopter no longer spins and just drops to the floor. ...read more.

Middle

is larger when it is heavier, whereas air resistance is the same. This means that the helicopter will still reach terminal velocity, however it will fall faster during terminal velocity. This is because the force pulling the helicopter down is equal to the resistance and air resistance. Key Factors: To make sure that the experiment is fair I will need to: * Only change one factor in the experiment, in this case the number of paperclips on the helicopter * Make sure the helicopter is dropped from the same height each time * Make sure the helicopter is time correctly avoiding visual parallax by making sure the same person times the helicopter, and he focuses on a certain point and only starts the timer when the helicopter passes that point in his vision. * The person timing the helicopter must stand the same distance away from the helicopter each time. Diagram This diagram shows how we will carry out the experiment. Results Time Taken (Seconds) Terminal Velocity/Speed Paper Clips Mass (g) ...read more.

Conclusion

Human reaction rates vary affecting the accuracy of the timings. 2. There may be a drift of air affecting the time take for the helicopter to reach the floor. 3. If allowed a visual parallax could affect the time taken for the helicopter to reach the floor. By looking at my table and my graphs I can see one abnormal result. This is with 2 paperclips attached to the helicopter. The average time is unusually higher than the rest of the results near it, therefore affecting the velocity of the helicopter. I believe this is down to human error when the timer has been started or stopped incorrectly. If I did the experiment again, I would try to improve the accuracy of the results by using other means for timing that helicopter, such as a laser to detect when the helicopter has passed it (similar to a light gate). This would also overcome the problem with a visual parallax. I would also close all windows and doors and make sure that no-one is moving too suddenly near where the experiment is being carried out, to avoid the drift. ...read more.

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