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What happens to terminal velocity when weight is increased.

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Find out what happens to terminal velocity when weight is increased.


Terminal velocity is when the air resistance and weight (gravitational) forces are equal. It doesn’t get any faster because there is no resultant force. The terminal velocity of a falling object occurs when the object experiences zero acceleration. This is because of the retarding force known as air resistance. Air resistance exists because air molecules collide into the object creating an upward force opposite to gravity. This upward force will eventually balance the falling object’s weight. It will continue to fall at constant velocity known as the terminal velocity.


I first started using a 14.5cm cone with a joining point (the place where the cone is stuck together) of 10cm I found this fluttered a lot and didn’t travel in a straight line, so I couldn’t get accurate results. I

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Fair Test

I will not change the timing person, stopwatch, cone, person dropping cone. The only thing I will change will be the chosen variable, which is weight. I will also repeat each experiment 3 times and take an average of my results; this is to ensure that my results are accurate, and count out any anomalies.


I predict that if I increase the weight of a falling object then the terminal velocity will increase. I believe this because if the weight increases then eventually the air resistance will equal it. This results in the object accelerating and when the two forces are equal it is at its terminal velocity.

If I double the weight then the air resistance will double. The object will move twice as

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I think the procedure used was an accurate way of getting the results I needed, but for further experimentation I wouldn’t use a cone because it isn’t the most accurate of things, as if flutters slightly, and where is it heavier on one side due to the glue holding it together, I tended to drift slightly. The quality of my results should be good as:

  • The same person started and stopped the stopwatch each time.
  • The experiment was repeated twice for each mass.
  • The same cone was used for each experiment.
  • Nothing was changed except for the chosen variable.
  • The cone was dropped and given a time to reach terminal velocity before the stopwatch was started.

In my results I didn’t get any anomalies.

The way the procedure was carried out was the best that could be done with the resources available.  The recordings I took were not exact  but they were reliable enough to determine if the prediction was correct or not and make a good conclusion.  

By Shaun Gilchrist

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