Does a heavier object really fall faster?
A simulation of air drag encountered during skydiving.
This shows that a heavier object DOES fall faster….not exactly much use for a physics lesson!
Thanks for the comment!
When air drag is taken into account heavier objects do fall faster. For example, a 1 square meter parachute with a toy soldier attached will achieve a relatively small terminal velocity. A 1 square meter parachute with an actual human soldier attached will achieve a terminal velocity that is likely to kill the soldier.
In this simulation, the force of air drag is modeled as proportional to the square of the speed. Because of this, a light object (the tub of ice cream) will achieve terminal velocity very quickly, and therefore have a much lower terminal velocity than a heavier object (the gold bar), which takes significantly longer to achieve terminal velocity.
We have found air drag to be a great topic in our physics classes. It really does drive home the difference between the ideal model and real life where air drag might be significant!
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