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We are to investigate the factors that determine the terminal velocity of a 'helicopter'.

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Introduction

Helicopter Investigation Planning We are to investigate the factors that determine the terminal velocity of a 'helicopter'. We will be making helicopters with two controlled variables and dropping them from the Great Hall balcony, a distance of 3.6 metres. We will time how long they take to drop from half way up (or some distance like that) to the bottom so that we are only timing them when terminal velocity is reached. When released from rest, the helicopter usually starts to spin after a short while. Once it has started spinning it has reached terminal velocity. We are to measure what the terminal velocity is and will be using two variables and seeing how they could affect the terminal velocity. Possible variables are: 1. Length of wings 2. Number of paper clips 3. Width of wings 4. Colour of card 5. Shape of wings 6. Length of stem 7. Angle of wings The two variables I will use will be the length of the wings and the number of paper clips. This is what my helicopters will look like: Prediction: I predict that the terminal velocity squared is directly to the mass of the 'helicopter'. Prediction of what the graph will look like: I have predicted this because as the mass increases the 'helicopter' will speed up so the terminal velocity squared will increase. ...read more.

Middle

All 'helicopters' with surface area of the wings at 10 cm2. Analysis My results have shown that terminal velocity squared is inversely proportional to the area of the 'helicopter' wings, is directly proportional to the mass, and one over terminal velocity squared is directly proportional to the to the area of the 'helicopter' wings. The graph to show the terminal velocity squared in relationship to the area of the 'helicopters' wings clearly shows through the line of best fit that there is inverse proportionality and all the results for when the variable was area of wings look accurate. However when you see the graph for one over the terminal velocity squared in relationship to the area of the 'helicopters' wings, there is direct proportionality as there should be, however there seems to be an outlier in the graph for one over the terminal velocity squared when the area of the wings was 32cm2. With the results I have obtained I think that it would be appropriate and possible to come up with some conclusions in relation to area of the 'helicopters' wings and the mass of the 'helicopter' in relation to their terminal velocity. Conclusions 1. The terminal velocity squared is inversely proportional to the area of the 'helicopters' wings. ...read more.

Conclusion

2. Another aspect that could have been improved is the place where we dropped the 'helicopters' off to measure their terminal velocity. Some of us dropped them off down a stairwell where there could have been an updraft affecting the air resistance, others (including me) dropped them off from the balcony in the great hall. There were probably no updrafts here however there would have been other drafts of some sort. 3. Another thing worth considering is that I took my results over two different lessons and dropped the 'helicopters' off two different parts of the balcony where the drafts might be different. I also used two different stopwatches, which might have been very slightly different. Looking at the graphs for one over terminal velocity squared to the area of the 'helicopters' wings, and the terminal velocity squared to the area of the 'helicopters', the result for when the area of the wings was 32cm2 looks to be slightly inaccurate compared to the others. Apart from that there don't seem to be any 'faulty' results and the investigation went successfully showing that the terminal velocity squared is inversely proportional to the area of the 'helicopters' wings, the terminal velocity squared is directly proportional to the mass of the 'helicopter', and one over terminal velocity squared is directly proportional to the area of the 'helicopters' wings. Richard Venables 10W ...read more.

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