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Investigate one factor affecting the terminal speed of spheres falling in a liquid

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HL Physics Internal Assessment

Investigate one factor affecting the terminal speed of spheres falling in a liquid

Background:        In physics, terminal velocity is when the acceleration of the object becomes constant due to the other forces around, such as gas or liquid. When the gravity force and the drag force become equal, the free falling object’s velocity is called terminal velocity. This means that the acceleration of the object is constant.

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Table 1. Independent, Dependent and Controlled Variables

Independent Variables

Dependent Variables

Controlled Variables

Area of the object affected by the gravity

Density of liquid

Drag Coefficient (0.47)

Density of fluid (1g/cm3)

Apparatus:        1 x 2m Tube                        1 x Data Studio


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6. Repeat stage 1 to 5, four more times to reduce uncertainties

7. Repeat stage 1 to 6 with different size of the spheres (10cm, 15cm, 20cm and 25cm diameter)


Glenn Elert, Allen Ma. Density of Water. 2007. 16 October 2009 <http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2007/AllenMa.shtml>.

Physics.net. Drag Force in Medium. 16 October 2009 <http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~vawter/PhysicsNet/Topics/Dynamics/Forces/DragForce.html>.

Wikipedia. Drag Coefficient. 7 October 2009. 16 October 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag_coefficient>.

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