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Physics of Skydiving



I have always been fascinated by the idea of skydiving, so I thought it would be interesting to learn the physics behind it. When a person skydives, they are accelerating downward do to the force of gravity. Simultaneously, the amount of air resistance increases as the faster the skydiver falls. Once the force of air resistance is as large as the force of gravity, the skydiver no longer accelerates because the force of gravity equals air resistance. This equality is known as terminal velocity. To decrease terminal velocity which ultimately allows the skydiver to arrive on the ground at a safe speed, a large cross sectional area is needed to oppose the force of gravity and increase air resistance. This is the reason that a parachute is required. The large cross sectional area of a parachute slows the terminal velocity down to a safe landing speed.  


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