Air Gun Sighted at a Falling Target Demonstration

In summary: If the drag force of the air has no vertical component (only affecting the horizontal velocity component), then the target will still be intercepted although the juncture may change. However, for more realistic problems (like a falling human), the drag will affect the trajectory, and the target will likely drop more quickly than the bullet.
  • #1
mopit_011
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So in class today, we were talking about how if you fire a bullet aimed at a falling target and release the target and the bullet at the exact same time, they will surely collide. I asked if air resistance (since it’s not a constant force) wouldn’t affect the collision and my teacher didn’t have a response. Could I have help please?
 
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  • #2
Hi,
:welcome:
Good question !

Without air resistance the bullet trajectory is a parabola (the black line in the picture here ) .
That is what your exercises will want for your near future.

With air resistance the bullet slows down considerably and follows a (much) more complicated trajectory.
The target will also experience air resistance, but most likely not in the exact same way as the bullet (feather target? brick target?).
It would be somewhat coincidental if both drop equally far over the distance of the shot.

##\ ##
 
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  • #3
If the drag force of the air has no vertical component (only affecting the horizontal velocity component) the target will still be intercepted although the juncture may change.
Typically the drag force is antiparallel to the velocity itself and so the result may be affected. Obviously for the classroom demo these effects are small enough to ignore (because most of the drag is in fact horizontal).
Your Prof probably didn't want to wander off into the weeds ! But you know intuitively that a very highly viscous fluid will ruin the result. Depending on your level of skill you could refine this question...like how much does air drag affect the result etc etc. Good question.
 
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  • #4
mopit_011 said:
So in class today, we were talking about how if you fire a bullet aimed at a falling target and release the target and the bullet at the exact same time, they will surely collide. I asked if air resistance (since it’s not a constant force) wouldn’t affect the collision and my teacher didn’t have a response. Could I have help please?
As already mentioned, air resistance will slow the bullet and the velocity of the falling object, but because the velocity profiles of each of those is different, it becomes a more complicated problem.

But for short-range monkey falling problems, the monkey does not do so well...

 
  • #5
mopit_011 said:
I asked if air resistance (since it’s not a constant force) wouldn’t affect the collision ...
In general, it will. Imagine the target hangs on a parachute (not uncommon in war).
 

Related to Air Gun Sighted at a Falling Target Demonstration

1. What is an air gun sighted at a falling target demonstration?

An air gun sighted at a falling target demonstration is a scientific experiment that involves using an air gun to shoot at a target that is falling under the influence of gravity. The purpose of this demonstration is to study the effects of air resistance on the motion of a falling object.

2. How does an air gun sighted at a falling target demonstration work?

The air gun sighted at a falling target demonstration works by using compressed air to propel a projectile (such as a small plastic ball) at a target that is falling under the influence of gravity. The air resistance experienced by the projectile as it travels through the air affects its trajectory and allows for the study of the motion of the falling target.

3. What can be learned from an air gun sighted at a falling target demonstration?

An air gun sighted at a falling target demonstration can teach us about the effects of air resistance on the motion of a falling object. It can also help us understand the concept of terminal velocity, which is the maximum speed that a falling object can reach when the force of gravity is balanced by the force of air resistance. Additionally, this demonstration can provide insights into projectile motion and the factors that affect it.

4. What materials are needed for an air gun sighted at a falling target demonstration?

The materials needed for an air gun sighted at a falling target demonstration include an air gun, a target (such as a small plastic ball or a piece of paper), a flat surface to shoot from, and a measuring device (such as a ruler or a stopwatch). Optional materials may include a video camera to record the demonstration and a computer with data analysis software.

5. Is an air gun sighted at a falling target demonstration safe?

As with any scientific experiment, safety precautions should be taken when conducting an air gun sighted at a falling target demonstration. It is important to follow all safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer of the air gun and to wear appropriate protective gear, such as safety glasses. It is also important to have a designated area for the demonstration and to ensure that all observers are at a safe distance from the falling target. It is recommended to have a trained professional supervise the demonstration.

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