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Design a procedure to test a factor(s) that affects a falling coffee filter and that includes appropriate use of apparatus for the control, collection and analysis of data.

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International Baccalaureate Physics        4/PSOW

The Fall of a Coffee Filter


As a basket-type coffee filter falls, it tends to fall straight down and not flip over.  This allows us to design a lab with several interesting variations on the independent and dependent variables.  

You very recently were told to drop coffee filters and change several different variables as you dropped the filters.  You also measured several different responding variables.  Based on your brief exposure to the wonders of falling coffee filters, you will design a lab that could be performed by another student in a normal physics class.  


Basket-type coffee filters and any other equipment you think you might need.


Design a procedure to test a factor(s) that affects a falling coffee filter

...read more.


or –cv2. At terminal velocity, the downward force is equal to the upward force, so mg = –bv or

mg = –cv2, depending on whether the drag force follows the first or second relationship. In either case, since g and b or c are constants, the terminal velocity is affected by the mass of the object.


Independent: Mass of coffee filter

Dependent: Time that takes coffee filter to become  

                  terminal velocity


  • Gravity
  • Height
  • Person who drops the coffee filter/ starts and stop the motion sensor
  • Location
  • Condition of the class room
  • Same motion sensor


  • meter stick
  • packet of nine coffee filters
  • motion sensor
  • laptop
  • electronic balance for weighing mass.

Experiment Setup:



  1. The motion sensor should be connected with the laptop and then placed on the floor and be ready for measuring the velocity.
  2. Get the
...read more.


pan class="c5">Remove one coffee filter from the packet leaving it as 8 coffee filters. Weight it again, record the mass and place it above the motion sensor. Repeat procedure 4 and 5Do the same procedures till the coffee filters inside the packet remains one.After noting down all the results, take the average time for trials for the same weight and then compare the time to see whether time is longer for the coffee filters if the mass is high.Use this data to write a good lab report.

Data table below for guide:

Data table:

Number of coffee filters inside the packet

Weight of the coffee filters (+,- 0.01g)


Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Trial 4 Trial 5










...read more.

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