- Free fall is when an object is falling with no driving force (other than gravity) acting on it. A free falling object in a fluid (e.g. air) will eventually reach terminal velocity. The most common example you will see is a skydiver
Free Fallers Reach a Terminal Velocity
- When free falling objects first set off they have much more force accelerating them than resistance slowing them down. As the velocity increases the resistance builds up.
- This gradually reduces the acceleration until eventually the resistance force is equal to the accelerating force and then it won't be able to accelerate anymore. It will have reached its maximum velocity or terminal velocity.
The Terminal Velocity of Falling Objects Depends on Their Shape and Area
- The accelerating force acting on all falling objects is gravity and it would make them all accelerate at the same rate, if it wasn't for air resistance
- To prove this, on the Moon, where there's no air, hamsters and feathers dropped simultaneously will hit the ground at the same time. However, on Earth, air resistance causes things to fall at different speeds, and the terminal velocity of any object is determined by its drag compared to it's weight. The…