# IB Physics Extended Essay - Terminal velocity experiment - ideas neede

• ankursharma309
In summary: Some questions you might want to answer in your experiment are:1. What is the terminal velocity of the objects?2. What is the drag coefficient?3. What is the weight of the objects?4. What is the viscosity of the fluid?5. What is the buoyancy of the objects?In summary, the student is looking for advice on a better experiment that is more suited for a physics extended essay. They are also looking for ideas on how to make the objects. They are considering using plasticine clay or a glass or metal bottle with lead pellets to vary the weight and see how that impacts the terminal velocity.
ankursharma309
Hi. I decided a month or so ago, that I am going to do my physics extended essay on the topic of terminal velocity.

However, at the moment I am not sure what experiment I can do. At the beginning I thought I would do an experiment where I would drop bodies made of cardboard with different surface area while keeping mass constant, and then different masses while keeping surface area constant, and then analyse their effect on terminal velocity. But now I am thinking that this is way too easy and simple for a Extended Essay, it is only sufficient for a normal class lab.

Is there any way in which I can modify my experiment so it is better suited for extended essay. Perhaps making the theory a little bit more complex.

Any ideas? I was thinking may be to make parachutes instead of dropping simple objects. I also thought of investigating terminal velocity in water (Stokes law)? Do you have any other ideas?

Thanks!
Any ideas much appreciated.

You didn't mention the shapes of your cardboard objects. Varying that would open up a far greater study.

Hi haruspex. Thanks for the suggestion. So when I change the shape, I change the drag coefficient which in turn influences the terminal velocity, right?
This is definitely a good option. Any other ideas people? If not, then I can always try to do this option.

A classic experiment in physics is to determine the viscosity of oil/some liquid by dropping a ball bearing into it. The other experiment I know of is to drop filters and measure their speed with a motion sensor.

Just to say that I would definitely try to go for doing experiments in water and other liquids (if nothing else because it let's you fool around a bit ... also, liquid honey is a nice viscous medium, yum! ... some vegetable oil might be of interest too). This will allow you to study also how the drag coefficient varies with the medium and not only the shapes. Note that buoyancy will also depend on the liquid though so you would have to account for that too and you might have to restrict yourself to transparent liquids to have a reasonable experimental setup.

I have decided that I will perform experiments changing shape. And that the medium I will use will be water, not air.

But I am stuck how I am going to be able to make these objects. Clearly cardboard won't work because it does not sink and it is difficult to change its shape. I was thinking Plasticine clay or something like that? Any other ideas?

Also I was wondering how I will be able to change the shape without changing the surface area. Wouldn't making the body more curvy also change its surface area?

Thanks for help

Maybe you could use the same object (plastic/glass bottle, hollow egg shell) and load it with varying amounts of lead pellets to alter the weight and see how that influences the terminal velocity? Are you going to drop it into the water or vary the flow past the fixed stationary object?

My suggestions for your IB essay are as follows.
Terminal velocity experiments in fluid and gases can be performed under 3 conditions:
1. Objects reach terminal velocity with f=-bv. You can design experiment to demonstrate this.
2. Onjects reach terminal velocity with f=-bv^2. You can design experiment to demonstrate this.
3. Objects reach terminal velocity and go back up along their path of falling. You can design experiment to demonstrate this.

## 1. What is an IB Physics Extended Essay?

An IB (International Baccalaureate) Physics Extended Essay is a research-based essay written by students in the 11th or 12th grade as part of the IB Diploma Programme. It requires students to choose a topic of interest in physics and conduct an in-depth investigation, presenting their findings in the form of an essay.

## 2. What is the Terminal Velocity Experiment?

The Terminal Velocity Experiment is a physics experiment that measures the maximum velocity reached by an object falling through a fluid, such as air or water. It involves dropping a small object (such as a ball or a paper cone) from a certain height and recording its velocity as it falls.

## 3. How can I choose a suitable topic for my IB Physics Extended Essay on Terminal Velocity Experiment?

There are various potential topics for an IB Physics Extended Essay on Terminal Velocity Experiment, such as investigating the effect of different fluids on terminal velocity, the impact of shape and size on terminal velocity, or the relationship between terminal velocity and air resistance. It is important to choose a topic that interests you and can be investigated with the available resources and time constraints.

## 4. What are some possible ideas for conducting the Terminal Velocity Experiment?

Some ideas for conducting the Terminal Velocity Experiment include varying the shape and size of the falling object, using different fluids with varying viscosities, measuring the effect of temperature on terminal velocity, or analyzing the impact of altitude on terminal velocity. Other variables that can be explored include the angle of descent, the surface area of the falling object, and the presence of obstacles in the fluid.

## 5. What are some tips for writing a successful IB Physics Extended Essay on Terminal Velocity Experiment?

To write a successful IB Physics Extended Essay on Terminal Velocity Experiment, it is important to have a clear and focused research question, use appropriate and accurate data collection methods, analyze the data using relevant physics theories and equations, and draw conclusions supported by evidence from the experiment. It is also crucial to follow the IB guidelines and format for the Extended Essay and properly cite all sources used in the essay.

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