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How Surface Area Of Vanes Effect The Rate At Which A Weight Drops.

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How Surface Area Of Vanes Effect The

Rate At Which A Weight Drops

Aim – To see if the surface area of a wind vane affects the rate at which a weight drops from it.

Hypothesis – I predict that by increasing the surface area of the vanes on the wind vane, I will increase the air resistance therefore slowing the rate at which the weight will drop.

Primary Work – If a piece of paper and a marble are in free fall, they will fall at the same speed, so they should hit the ground at the same time. If you test this by just dropping a marble and a piece of paper you will find it is not true. This is because the objects are not in free fall. To be in free fall, gravity has to be the only force acting on the objects. When you just drop something, there is also air resistance. Air resistance is a type of fluid friction.

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StandClamp20g Weight55cm of StringAxelCork With Equal Slits For VanesCard For VanesStopwatch

Method –

  1. I will set up the equipment as shown below.
  1. I will cut out 6 vanes with a certain surface area and put them into their corresponding slits in the cork.



  1. I will coil the string attached to the weight around the axel and then drop it. I will time the time it takes for the weight to hit the table and record my results.
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Graph Of Averages –

= Line Of Best Fit


Conclusion – I have found that I was right in my hypothesis in thinking that the larger the surface area of the vanes on a wind vane, the more time it takes for a weight attached to it by means of an axel to fall. This was because, as stated in my theory and primary work, the surface area increased the amount of air resistance and this force opposed gravity which was pulling the weight down, therefore making it travel slower. This is shown in my graph as a positive correlation.

Evaluation – I had no major anomalous results, this was down to accurate measuring and because I kept my experiment fair. After doing this experiment I would like to be able to calculate the actual amount of air resistance created by a wind vane and see if there is any relationship between surface area and amount of air resistance.

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