Terminal velocity

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Terminal velocity is the speed when a falling object is no longer getting faster. Velocity means how fast something is changing position in both speed and direction.

Terminal velocity happens at the moment in time that the force, because of gravity, called weight, is the same as the opposite force of air resistance or friction. In other words, terminal velocity is the point at which the velocity (speed of change of the falling object) is no longer getting greater. The gravitational force minus the force of drag (or air resistance) equals zero.[1]

An object continues to fall steadily until air resistance becomes so great that it equals with the pull of gravity and the object can fall no faster. The first place ever, that humans witnessed this was at the Empire State Building. It was the first man-made object that if you threw something off of it, it would take so long to get to the bottom, that it could not speed up any more. Most people believe that this is where the "throw-a-penny" of the Empire State Building will kill someone myth came from. That myth was proven to be false. The updraft created by the Empire State building would drastically slow down the penny.[2]

Terminal velocity is different for each and every object. In an atmosphere, an object will fall faster, the more it weighs. It will fall slower the more surface area it has.[1]


References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mathias Svensson (2012). "The Influence of Weight on Terminal Velocity". Copenhagen University. http://www.greenharbor.com/fffolder/weight.html. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  2. John Stossel and Gena Binkley (3 May 2007). "Can a Penny Dropped From a Building Kill a Pedestrian Below?". 20/20 (ABC News Network). http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=3131332.