Free falling bodies Definition and 5 Discussions

In Newtonian physics, free fall is any motion of a body where gravity is the only force acting upon it. In the context of general relativity, where gravitation is reduced to a space-time curvature, a body in free fall has no force acting on it.
An object in the technical sense of the term "free fall" may not necessarily be falling down in the usual sense of the term. An object moving upwards might not normally be considered to be falling, but if it is subject to only the force of gravity, it is said to be in free fall. The Moon is thus in free fall around the Earth, though its orbital speed keeps it in very far orbit from the Earth's surface.
In a roughly uniform gravitational field, in the absence of any other forces, gravitation acts on each part of the body roughly equally. When there is no normal force exerted between a body (e.g. an astronaut in orbit) and its surrounding objects, it will result in the sensation of weightlessness, a condition that also occurs when the gravitational field is weak (such as when far away from any source of gravity).
The term "free fall" is often used more loosely than in the strict sense defined above. Thus, falling through an atmosphere without a deployed parachute, or lifting device, is also often referred to as free fall. The aerodynamic drag forces in such situations prevent them from producing full weightlessness, and thus a skydiver's "free fall" after reaching terminal velocity produces the sensation of the body's weight being supported on a cushion of air.

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  1. C

    I How to Calculate force exerted on a falling body?

    I'm curious about impact on falling object, so i have taken initiative to solve this problem. I considered only force on the falling object would be its weight and taken F=mg. With only limited data m=.25kg and drop height h=1m. Pondering on this consideration practically, it will have more...
  2. cianfa72

    I About global inertial frames in GR

    Hi, starting from this thread Principle of relativity for proper accelerating frame of reference I'm convincing myself of some misunderstanding about what a global inertial frame should actually be. In GR we take as definition of inertial frame (aka inertial coordinate system or inertial...
  3. M

    Finding the 'g-force' of a decelerating falling mass.

    Hey all, I need a reality check and verification on some work I have been doing. I feel as though I might be too close to the problem now and am missing something about this. It's also been a few years since I studied physics at University, so I'm a little rusty. Problem: An initially...
  4. Celso

    Particle in a "roller coaster"

    I first found ##v_{B}## by ##E_{p,A,B} = mgh_{1} = E_{c, B} = \frac{1}{2}mv_{B}^2 \therefore v_{B} = \sqrt{2gh_{1}} ## After this I made several failed attempts basically trying to find its final velocity so I could use conservation of energy. Spliting the velocity into its components never...
  5. Charly

    B Why do bodies in free fall change position

    Why do bodies in free fall change position relative to each other? For instance in a vacuum with no external forces why can an apple fall towards the surface of the earth? If these objects aren't accelerating then are they considered at rest? And in what sense of the term 'rest'. I think I can...