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Air Resistance Tests

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jrv12

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Last night my younger brother was watching one of his favorite shows: street science. I happened to walk in the room as they were doing a Galileo-inspired experiment where they were dropping different objects from a crane to show the effects of gravity and air resistance.

At first, they dropped a basketball and a bowling ball from a height of 50 feet. Physics tells us that both objects should hit the ground at the same time because in free fall the weight of the object doesn’t matter. However, the bowling ball hit the ground before the basketball, showing the effects of air resistance. Next, they dropped two bowling balls from the same height but with different weights. They wanted to show that, while the shapes of the balls were the exact same, they still wouldn’t land at the same time. They heavier bowling ball took less time to hit the ground than the lighter one, but they were closer in time than basketball and bowling ball were. Finally, they dropped a truck and a refrigerator from a height of 50 feet. They hit the ground at the same time because in that little of a height with that much weight, air resistance does not have much of an effect. If the truck and fridge were dropped from much higher, they would not have hit the ground at the same time because of air resistance. It was pretty interesting to watch the effects of air resistance on different objects!

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