Forces and Terminal Velocity

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  • Created by: Annie
  • Created on: 11-12-13 19:54
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  • Forces and Terminal Velocity
    • Objects falling through a fluid eventually reach terminal velocity, when the resultant force acting on them is zero and they are moving at a steady speed.
      • Weight is a force exerted on an object because of a gravitational force.
    • Three stages of falling
      • 1. At Start - Object accelerates downwards, no air resistance and resultant force acting downwards
      • 2. As object gains speed, object weight stays the same but air resistance on it increases. A Resultant force acts downwards
      • 3. Eventually the object's weight is balanced out by air resistance and object reaches a steady speed TERMINAL VELOCITY
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    • What happens if you drop a feather and a coin together? The feather and the coin have roughly the same surface area, so when they begin to fall they have about the same air resistance.
      • As the feather falls, its air resistance increases until it soon balances the weight of the feather.
      • But the coin is much heavier, so it has to travel quite fast before air resistance is large enough to balance its weight. In fact, it probably hits the ground before it reaches its terminal velocity.


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