• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Affect of Mass on the Time It Takes an Object To Fall

Extracts from this document...


Colin Wick                1/12/09

Period 4                IB/AP Physics

The Effect of Mass on the Time It Takes for an Object to Fall

        How does the mass of a paper helicopter affect the time it takes the helicopter to fall to the floor?  We believe that the more massive and in turn the heavier the helicopter, the faster it will fall because the increase of mass increases the downward force of gravity, weight, therefore causing the helicopter to accelerate at a higher rate and in turn fall faster.  The set-up for this experiment will include a paper helicopter dropped from a measured, and constant height.  The helicopter will gain mass through paperclips for each data point, and the time that the helicopter takes to fall the measured distance will be recorded for five separate trials.  This data will then be graphed to discover the effect that mass has on the time it takes an object to fall a measured distance.  The only variable that will be manipulated during the experiment will be the mass of the helicopter, while the rotor size of the helicopter will be unchanged because changing the size of the rotor blades would change the air resistance the helicopter encounters and would therefore change the net force acting on the helicopter.

...read more.


Distance: 184cm

Time Uncertainty for Each Trial: ±0.1s

           Time (s)

Total Mass (g)

Uncertainty (±g)

Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3

Trail 4

Trial 5


Avg. Uncertainty (±s)















































This graph shows that there is an inverse power relationship between the total mass of an object and the time it takes to hit the ground because the variable x is to a negative power close to –0.5.  Furthermore, the relationship shown on the graph is not a perfect inverse square root relationship because the exponent is not exactly –0.5.

...read more.


        There are two important improvements that could be made to this lab that would dramatically increase the accuracy of the results.  The first would get rid of the systematic error encountered.  By simply using a level or a protractor to check the angle of the PVC pipe with the floor and make sure it is ninety degrees, then the height of the PVC pipe would be certain.  The second would be to set up an infrared laser system. We could set up two lasers, one above the other, and measure the distance between the two beams, and then connect a timer to the system that would start when the first beam was broken and then stop when the second beam was broken.  This would not only get rid of the systematic error of not knowing the true height of the drop zone, but it would more importantly eliminate the random error of starting and stopping the timer and even the release of the helicopter.  With the lasers, the start and stop times of the fall would be much closer to exact, and the helicopter could be dropped above the first beam and be allowed to fly through it because the time would not start until the first beam is broken, and there is a measured distance between the two beams.

Page  of

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Physics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Physics essays

  1. How does the mass of the paper helicopter affect the drop time of the ...

    Another control of this experiment would be having the same person timing the experiment for every trial. To keep the data as consistent as possible, the experiment will be using the same stopwatch, electric scale and paper helicopter each time.

  2. How does the mass of a spherical object and the height from which it ...

    At the 10 cm mark on the meter stick, drop one of the balls. Carefully lift it out of the resulting crater, making sure that the width and depth of the crater is not affected. 5. Repeat once again at the 10 cm mark, to help balance out any potential outliers.

  1. This lab will test the effects of the surface area factor on acceleration due ...

    =-1.61 m/s2 2. =-2.16 m/s2 3. =-2.76 m/s2 4.=-4.39 m/s2 Percent Errors (Experimental Acceleration to Theoretical Value, -9.81 m/s2): End of Data Processing Section Conclusion and Evaluation Conclusion The purpose of this accelerated motion lab in free-fall experiment was to investigate acceleration due to gravity and the factors that affect it.

  2. How does the number of holes in a plastic cup affect the time it ...

    each time. This is measured with a 250 mL (� 2 mL) graduated cylinder. Another control of this experiment would be having the same person timing the experiment for every trial. Another control would be puncturing the same size hole at the bottom of the cup throughout the trials.

  1. Bifilar Suspension - the technique will be applied to find the mass moment ...

    indicating the presence of systematic error in the investigation. * The graph above has a reasonable RMSE value 0.04628 indicating a well-defined relationship between the effective distance (D) and time period (T). * As the graph shows non- linear relation and in order to get a linear fit graph, so the data has been processed by calculating 1/T and then plotted 1/T vs.

  2. Investigation into the relationship between acceleration and the angle of free fall downhill

    Uncertainty for the average time Δt/s (± 0.0005) Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Trial 4 Trial 5 Average 0.084 1.018 1.083 1.045 1.031 1.020 1.039 0.033 0.118 0.829 0.899 0.828 0.897 0.879 0.866 0.036 0.134 0.782 0.768 0.783 0.798 0.844 0.795 0.038 0.152 0.705 0.725 0.691 0.699 0.738 0.712 0.024 0.176 0.646 0.638 0.689 0.661 0.632 0.653

  1. HL Physics Revision Notes

    The higher the temperature, the shorter the wavelength. For a body at ordinary room temperature 193K, the wavelength at which most of the energy is radiated is an infrared wavelength. Graph: The lower the emissivity the lower the curve. We see that with increasing temperature, the peak of the curve

  2. How does the sinkage depth of a tyre affect its rolling resistance ?

    air pressure in my cycle in order to reduce the sinkage depth. This impromptu decision helped in reducing the force that was required to move the cycle through the sand. The anecdote stated above was my premier inspiration towards my focus in my extended essay.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work