# Bernoulli s Principle Air Resistance by MikeJenny

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Bernoulli s Principle Air Resistance

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Mr. Burtness                                                                      (adapted from Vernier Labs)
AP Physics

Bernoulli’s Equation and Air Resistance
When studying motion, we often ignore air resistance as being negligible and for simplification. In many cases
this is valid* but not always. Acceleration is typically not always constant. Due to air resistance, objects do not
accelerate indefinitely at 9.8 m/s2. A piece of paper and a baseball do not fall at the same rate. Air has a much
greater effect on the motion of the paper than it does on the motion of the baseball. When paper falls, air
resistance very quickly becomes as large as its weight so that it moves at an almost constant velocity. When this
happens, the largest speed of an object is falling with is called terminal velocity, or vT . The paper reaches
terminal velocity very quickly, but on a short drop to the floor, the baseball does not. Air resistance is a drag
force, FDrag. From our study of Bernoulli:
Ptot= Pstatic + ½v2   (  = density of the fluid; air = 1.29kg/m3)
This suggests that aerodynamic lift and aerodynamic drag may be dependant on velocity2.
Since Pressure x Area = Force, the equations for lift and drag become:
FLift = ½v2(S)(CLift)          CL is the coefficient of Lift, S = Surface Area
FDrag = ½v2(S)(CDrag)      CD is the coefficient of Lift, S = Surface Area
Objectives
In this experiment, you will measure the terminal velocity as a function of weight for a falling object and use
the data to determine the coefficient of drag.
Materials
LabQuest with cables                                   Vernier Motion Detector
Graphing calculator                                    Styrofoam bowl, basket-style coffee filters or
“high-drag” paper box & paper clip weights

PRE-LAB QUESTIONS (ANSWER IN THE SPACE BELOW)
     Identify the specific cases when it is valid to ignore air resistance. (Consider vel., mass, size)
     Sketch what the velocity vs. time graph will look like for an object as it: (1) starts from rest; (2)
accelerates to its terminal velocity; (3) reaches terminal velocity; (4) hits the ground. Label these points
on your sketch.
     Sketch the corresponding position vs. time graph.
     What is the net force on the object when it reaches terminal velocity? Compare the drag force to the
weight when the object has reached terminal velocity.
Analysis
1. To help determine the coeffiecient of Drag, graph Drag force on the y- axis and terminal velocity
on the x- axis. Choose the best fit curve for the data and state the relationship between the
variables on the graph. (record equation and r value)

2. Now plot a graph of Drag Force on the y- axis and (terminal velocity)2 on the x- axis. Choose
the best fit curve for the data and state the relationship between the variables on the graph. (record
equation and r value).

3. The Coefficient of drag is related to the slope of this graph: FDrag = ½v2(S)(CDrag) Show the
calculation for CD.

4. CD for a blunt object can range from 1.0-1.5. Comment on your experimental results and discuss
the validity of the equation for aerodynamic drag.

19c431f4-4602-4d87-91ab-07fdb26ee1c6.doc
Procedure                                                                                              Motion
1. Connect the Motion Detector to the DIG/SONIC 1 channel of the LabQuest                         Detector

Interface.
2. With the stylus, click on “RATE” and change the sampling rate to .02sec (50
samples per second) before data collection.
3. Support the Motion Detector up against the ceiling above the floor, pointing
down, as shown in Figure 1.                                                                                          Interface

4. Place a bowl (or drag box) in the palm of your hand and hold it 0.5 m under
the Motion Detector.
5. Click           to begin data collection. When the Motion Detector begins to
click, release the bowl directly below the Motion Detector so that it falls
toward the floor. Move your hand out of the beam of the Motion Detector as
quickly as possible so that only the motion of the bowl is recorded on the
graph.                                                                                                    Figure 1

6. If the motion of the filter was too erratic to get a smooth graph, repeat the measurement. With practice,
the filter will fall almost straight down with little sideways motionThe velocity of the coffee filter can be
determined from the slope of the position vs. time graph. Terminal velocity is the asymptote of the
velocity graph before the object hits the ground.
    Drag your stylus to select the portion of the graph that represents the fall of the object. Click
Graph/Zoom in” to highlight that region.

Drag your stylus again to select the terminal velocity region of the graph. (Note that your
position vs. time graph is linear in this region).
 Either read the velocity graph if there is a clear terminal velocity or determine the slope of the
position graph by clicking Analyze/curve fit/linear of the position-time graph.
7. Repeat Steps 4-6 to confirm/average your results and record the terminal velocity.
8. Repeat the above procedure for a total of 10 weights. Make sure the bowl falls without wobbling
so the cross-sectional surface area does not change.
Data Table
Object cross-section dimensions__________ Cross-sectional (Surface) Area_________(m2)

Mass of filter(box)__________ Mass of paper clips_________
2
Number of                Drag Force (N)     Terminal Velocity       (Terminal Velocity)        CD = FD/(½v 2S)
filters/paper clips                                                             2   2 2
vT (m/s) trial            vT (m /s )

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