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written by Tom Henderson
This editor-recommended interactive tutorial from The Physics Classroom discusses why free falling objects fall with an acceleration of 9.8 m/s/s and explains the effect of air resistance of a falling object. It also explores why objects that encounter air resistance ultimately reach a terminal velocity. Students will be engaged by the simple language, informative graphics and interactive widgets. Several animations are linked to from this page.

See Related Materials for a link to an interactive Java simulation that will help students visualize what happens to free falling objects with and without the influence of air resistance.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in One Dimension
= Gravitational Acceleration
- High School
- Middle School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Tutorial
- Audio/Visual
= Illustration
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Learner
Educator
Formats:
text/html
image/gif
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
© 1996 Tom Henderson
Keywords:
drag, g, terminal speed, terminal velocity
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created March 28, 2011 by Tom Henderson
Record Updated:
July 13, 2012 by Gnana Subramaniam
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 1, 2011

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
  • 9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 6-8: 4G/M1. Every object exerts gravitational force on every other object. The force depends on how much mass the objects have and on how far apart they are. The force is hard to detect unless at least one of the objects has a lot of mass.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 6-8: 11B/M5. The usefulness of a model depends on how closely its behavior matches key aspects of what is being modeled. The only way to determine the usefulness of a model is to compare its behavior to the behavior of the real-world object, event, or process being modeled.
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
T. Henderson, (1996), WWW Document, (http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/newtlaws/U2L3e.cfm).
AJP/PRST-PER
T. Henderson, Physics Classroom: Free Fall and Air Resistance, (1996), <http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/newtlaws/U2L3e.cfm>.
APA Format
Henderson, T. (2011, July 1). Physics Classroom: Free Fall and Air Resistance. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/newtlaws/U2L3e.cfm
Chicago Format
Henderson, Tom. Physics Classroom: Free Fall and Air Resistance. July 1, 2011. http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/newtlaws/U2L3e.cfm (accessed 21 September 2014).
MLA Format
Henderson, Tom. Physics Classroom: Free Fall and Air Resistance. 1996. 1 July 2011. 21 Sep. 2014 <http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/newtlaws/U2L3e.cfm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Tom Henderson", Title = {Physics Classroom: Free Fall and Air Resistance}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {21 September 2014}, Month = {July 1, 2011}, Year = {1996} }
Refer Export Format

%A Tom Henderson
%T Physics Classroom: Free Fall and Air Resistance
%D July 1, 2011
%U http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/newtlaws/U2L3e.cfm
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Henderson, Tom
%D July 1, 2011
%T Physics Classroom: Free Fall and Air Resistance
%V 2014
%N 21 September 2014
%8 July 1, 2011
%9 text/html
%U http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/newtlaws/U2L3e.cfm


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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

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