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Parachute Investigation

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Parachute Investigation

Planning

We have decided to investigate the factor of weight and height.

Preliminary Experiment

The results of our preliminary experiment are shown below. The trial
ran smoothly with little to no mistakes.

1 Coin

3 Coins

5 Coins

1 m

1.09s

0.78s

0.67s

0.93s

0.79s

0.49s

0.87s

0.64s

0.49s

AVERAGE

0.96s

0.74s

0.35s

2 m

1.90s

1.15s

1.12s

2.04s

1.27s

1.09s

1.71s

1.31s

1.22s

AVERAGE

1.88s

1.24s

1.14s

Detailed Plan

Parachute Investigation - Investigating how different factors affect
the speed of a parachute.

There are multiple factors which affect the speed of a parachute e.g.
(a) the surface area of the parachute, (b) the length of each string
(between the parachute and mass), which might control the volume of
air under the parachute, (c) the mass contained within the basket, (d)
the distribution of mass, i.e. perhaps on the parachute itself as
opposed to on strings attached to the parachute (this of course would
not be a continuous variable so it would not be of great value) and of
course, (e) the height from which the parachute is dropped.

I predict that a heavier amount of mass in the basket will cause the
parachute to fall faster and the higher the parachute is dropped from,
the longer the time until impact.

Although all objects fall at a rate of 32 feet per second per second,
they all have what is known as a terminal velocity. As the object is
falling, the air friction pushes against it, and tries to slow it
down. As it speeds up, the air friction gets greater and greater,
until it reaches a point where the object cannot accelerate any more.
This is called the objects "terminal velocity."

Common sense tells us that the heavier an object the faster it will
fall to the ground. If investigated you will find this to be untrue as
all objects fall at a rate of 32 feet per second per second on earth.
Although all objects fall at this rate, they all have what is known as
a terminal velocity. As the object is falling, the air friction pushes
against it, and tries to slow it down. As it speeds up, the air
friction gets greater and greater, until it reaches a point where the
object cannot accelerate any more.

This is why if you were to try dropping a steel ball, and a feather at
the same time, the steel ball would hit the ground much sooner. That's
not because of the difference in weight, but because of the difference
in surface area. The feather has a greater surface area, thus a much
lower terminal velocity.

This is similar to the case of the parachute. The air resistance of
the parachute will always be the same but the greater the weight the
basket contains the faster the parachute will fall. The preceding
paragraphs set out my reasons for prediction concerned with the first
factor.

Reasons for prediction of the second factor are as of the following:-

1. Taking into consideration the object will be falling at a constant
speed common sense tells me the higher an object is released from, the
longer it takes to reach the ground.

The height of each test will be measured in metres and centimetres and
the average speed of each test will be calculated by the following
equation:-

[IMAGE] Average speed = Distance

Time taken

The apparatus we will require during the experiment will be listed as
the following :-

· 40cm × 40cm sheet of cellophane

· 35cm long piece of string × 4

· A camera film case

· 2p's × 5

· Metre rules × 2

· Stopwatch accurate to 0.01s

· Sellotape

· Hole puncher

· Weighing scales

· A table

Diagram

Step-by-step Method

The parachute was constructed by hole punching each of the four
corners and then sello-taping 1 string to each corner of the
cellophane square. The basket was then looped through the strings at
the bottom and the required amount of coins added depending on the
scenario.

The factors we are going to change are weight of the parachute and
height by which the parachute is dropped from. The factors that we are
keeping the same shall be the surface area of the parachute and the
length of each string (between the parachute and mass.) We will then
continue by dropping the parachute from different heights standing on
a table if required. Each height will be tested containing a different
weight and vice versa. The following heights and weights will be
tested :-

1m -

1coin, 2 coins, 3 coins, 4 coins, 5 coins

1.25m -

1coin, 2 coins, 3 coins, 4 coins, 5 coins

1.50m -

1coin, 2 coins, 3 coins, 4 coins, 5 coins

1.75m -

1coin, 2 coins, 3 coins, 4 coins, 5 coins

2m -

1coin, 2 coins, 3 coins, 4 coins, 5 coins

The height of each test will be measured in metres and centimetres and
the average speed of each test will be calculated by the following
equation:-

[IMAGE] Average speed = Distance

Time taken

To make our results as accurate as possible we will repeat any 'duff'
experiments. This will include any obstruction to the parachute on its
descent, whether or not the parachute was released and the timer
started at exactly the same time and stopped at the time when the
parachute touched the ground and also if any malfunctions with the
parachute or basket occurred during the descent.

To ensure that our results are reliable we will repeat each single
test three time and find the average with the following equation.

Result 1 + result 2 + result 3 = x_

3

'Preliminary work has been noted above'

To certify safety, precautions must be taken while standing on high
objects such as tables or chairs and also you must make sure before
releasing the parachute that it is not going to collide with anything
else.

Obtaining Results

1 coin

2 coins

3 coins

4 coins

5 coins

1 metre

0.99s

0.78s

0.75s

0.64s

0.53s

0.90s

0.82s

0.69s

0.68s

0.52s

1.02s

0.83s

0.66s

0.54s

0.52s

AVERAGE

0.97s

0.81s

0.7s

0.62s

0.52s

1.25 metres

1.29s

1.03s

0.94s

0.87s

0.58s

1.21s

1.13s

0.99s

0.81s

0.64s

1.50s

1.09s

0.89s

0.79s

0.68s

AVERAGE

1.33s

1.08s

0.94s

0.82s

0.61s

1.5 metres

1.36s

1.21s

1.41s

0.91s

0.71s

1.39s

1.22s

1.19s

0.87s

0.71s

1.41s

1.29s

1.03s

0.84s

0.79s

AVERAGE

1.39s

1.24s

1.11s

0.87s

0.74s

1.75 metres

1.63s

1.43s

1.25s

1.13s

0.91s

1.64s

1.46s

1.21s

1.11s

0.93s

1.71s

1.39s

1.19s

1.19s

0.99s

AVERAGE

1.66s

1.43s

1.22s

1.14s

0.94s

2 metres

1.71s

1.63s

1.54s

1.39s

1.21s

1.79s

1.69s

1.53s

1.34s

1.23s

1.73s

1.61s

1.51s

1.31s

1.19s

AVERAGE

1.74s

1.64s

1.53s

1.37s

1.21s

Analysis

Each one of the graphs above shows a similar pattern to the rest. As
the number of coins is increased the parachute takes a smaller amount
of time to reach the ground. The common pattern shown on each graph is
that of a curve going from high (left) to low (right).

[IMAGE]




T

i

m

[IMAGE] e

C o i n s

I can now make a conclusion in accordance to the graphs that as the
weight contained inside the basket is increased the time it takes for
the parachute as a whole to reach the ground in seconds in shorter. It
can also be proved from the graphs that as you increase the height
from which the parachute is being dropped it takes longer for it to
reach the ground. This is shown by the higher starting and finishing
point on each of the graphs as the height is increased.

[IMAGE]




T

i 1 metre

[IMAGE]m

e

[IMAGE] C o i n s

[IMAGE]




T

[IMAGE] i 1.25 metres (e.t.c…)

m

[IMAGE] e

C o i n s

The reason why the parachute operated in this way is because the extra
weight added to the basket acts as an extra force against gravity and
air resistance therefore increasing the terminal velocity of the
parachute. This explains why the parachute travels faster if it
contains a heavier load. The explanation for the parachute taking
longer to reach the ground is simply because there is a further
distance to fall and so the time it takes is increased.

This is a constant variable because as long as the distance between
the parachute and the ground keep on increasing the time taken to fall
will be longer. The relation between weight of the parachute and time
is also a constant variable: If the weight keeps on getting heavier
the parachute will fall to the ground faster.

The conclusion I made supports my prediction in the fullest. All
aspects of my prediction are repeated in the results of the
experiment. I predicted that a larger amount of weight will cause the
parachute to fall faster and the higher the parachute is dropped from,
the longer the time until impact. Both of these predictions were
proved to be correct when the experiment was done.

Evaluation

The best and most enjoyable part of the investigation was carrying out
the experiments. To keep errors to a minimum we made sure that any
anomalous results were repeated e.g. if the parachute hit an obstacle
on the way done or paused or sped up for any reason the test was done
again. We did obtain some 'dud' results throughout the experiment.
These were usually caused by the parachute hitting a chair on the way
down due to the unpredictability of the parachute concerned with where
it was going on its descent.

I would say the reliability of our results was good and that to make
the results more reliable the parachute would have to be constructed
in a more methodical manner. To minimise direction changes the weight
distribution would have to be perfect throughout and the attachments
symmetrical all the way around.

The suitability of the procedure for the investigation was quite good
although it could be improved by formulating some way of enabling the
parachute to be dropped and the timer started at the same time to
ensure fairness. This is the same for when the parachute touches the
ground.

Providing additional relevant evidence to back up my conclusion could
be done in a number of ways :-

· Further variables could be tested in order to find out more about
the physics of the parachute e.g. (a) the surface area of the
parachute, (b) the length of each string (between the parachute and
mass), which might control the volume of air under the parachute, (c)
the distribution of mass, i.e. perhaps on the parachute itself as
opposed to on strings attached to the parachute.

· More tests could have been done to widen the range of evidence or to
provide more evidence of what has already been done.

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MLA Citation:
"Parachute Investigation." 123HelpMe.com. 25 Apr 2014
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=120908>.




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