I have been given an investigation to look at the factors which determine the Terminal Velocity of an object falling through the air under the influence of gravity.
As my object I have chosen to use cake tin liners. This is because the shape of their flat base and lifted circumference is easy to drop without it turning when airborne.
Before I start my investigation I am going to clarify the difference between velocity and speed as many people get this wrong.
Velocity is the distance traveled in unit time in a confirmed direction.
Speed is the distance traveled in unit time, without knowing the direction.
In my investigation I am going to drop cake cups from several heights to calculate the constant speed that the cups will travel downwards. This is called the “terminal velocity-. As I do this I will add more cups to the original first cup to find out that if you double the weight it also doubles the speed.
From my own scientific knowledge I know that the weight of the cup(s) are pulling the cups downwards, air resistance (drag) is the force pushing the cup(s) upwards when it is falling.
When the cup(s) first falls there is a force from the weight of the cup(s) but very little drag because the cup(s) is moving slowly and air resistance is small. The forces are unbalanced (large downward force, small upward force) and so the cup(s) has a large acceleration in the direction of the larger force (downwards).
As the cup(s) gets faster, the drag increases and acceleration decreases until the weight and drag are equal in size. Now the forces are balanced .
And the cup(s) will continue to fall with constant velocity called its terminal velocity. The terminal velocity of an object would depend on its size, shape and weight.
To prove this theory I will have to perform a fair test, otherwise my results could vary and not give me an accurate conclusion. .
For planning an effective method I performed a preliminary experiment where I dropped paper cup(s) from two meters in the air from where I attached a two, one metre rulers to a clamp and stand and placed it on a table.