IGCSE Physics- Terminal Velocity

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  • Created by: ashleigh
  • Created on: 09-02-14 12:55

Terminal Velocity

When an object travels though the air at a significant speed, it will have air resistance acting on it. Air resistance opposes the motion of a object through the air. The size of the drag force caused by air resistance increases with speed- at some speeds the size of the drag force will be enough to balance the weight of an object, so that the resultant force on the object is zero and it no longer accelerates, having reached it's terminal velocity. 

Free- fallers reach a terminal velocity

When a free falling object first sets off they have a larger force accelerating them that resistance slowing them down. As the velocity increases the resistacnce build up.

This gradually reduces the acceleration (as resistacne build up) until eventually the resistance force is equal to the accelerating force and then it cannot accelerate anymore. It is said to have reached it's maximum or terminal velocity. 

The terminal velocity of falliong objects depends on their shape and area

The accelerating force acting on ALL falling objects is gravity. If there was no air resistance, gravity would make all objects accelerate

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