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To investigate how the weight of an object affects its terminal velocity as it is falling

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To investigate how the weight of an object affects its terminal velocity as it is falling.


I predict that when the weight of a falling object is increased the terminal velocity will also increase.

I think this because as you increase an objects weight it has a larger downwards force.  In order for the object to travel at a constant speed, i.e. terminal velocity, another force must match the downward force.  This force is air resistance.  So to make air resistance the same size as the downward force, the object has to be travelling at a fast enough velocity.  A heavier weight will accelerate to a higher terminal velocity before these two forces are balanced than a lighter one.  This is because air resistance increases when velocity increases as more air particles collide with the object, which slows the acceleration of the object down.  So the heavier the object the

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If the weight were too large, the cone would drop too quickly for the timer and if it were too light it would not make much difference between the falling times.  We found that using one-gram masses were suitable.

For this experiment a 20 cm (diameter) cone and one-gram masses will be used.  I think the cone should be dropped from a height of 2.00 metres, as this is a good distance to time without a large effect from reaction times.

Cone Making


A circle is drawn (using a compass) with a diameter of 20 cm and then cut out.  A straight line is drawn from the centre of the circle to the edge and then cut along.  Section A is put over section B and stuck down to make a cone shape.  If sections A and B are small the cone will be quite shallow so there will be more air resistance making it easy to time its falling time.


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"c5">The cone has to be dropped from exactly the same height (tip of cone at the 2.00m point) every time to make a fair test.  Also, make sure the cone does not come into contact with anything while it is falling, as this will alter the results.

So that this experiment is reliable it should be repeated at least twice.  This is because times may be different, caused by reaction times.  An average time can be made for each weight.  The more repeats that are made the more reliable this experiment is going to be.  When repeating, the weights have to stay exactly the same as the first time so not to make the results inaccurate.


Drop no.

1st Time (s)

2nd Time (s)

3rd Time (s)

Average Time (s)


























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