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Free fall

Free fall is motion in the Earth's gravitational field when no other forces act on the object.

Free fall is the term used to describe a special kind of motion in the Earth's gravitational field. Free fall is motion in the Earth's gravitational field when no other forces act on the object. It is basically an ideal situation, since in reality, there is always some air friction which slows down the motion.

Experiment : acceleration due to gravity

Aim: Investigating the acceleration of two different objects during free fall.

Apparatus: Tennis ball and a sheet of A4 paper.


  1. Hold the tennis ball and sheet of paper (horizontally) the same distance from the ground. Which one would strike the ground first if both were dropped?
  2. Drop both objects and observe. Explain your observations.
  3. Now crumple the paper into a ball, more or less the same size as the tennis ball. Drop the paper and tennis ball again and observe. Explain your observations.
  4. Why do you think the two situations are different?
  5. Compare the value for the acceleration due to gravity of the tennis ball to the crumpled piece of paper.
  6. Predict what will happen if an iron ball and a tennis ball of the same size are dropped from the same height. What will the values for their acceleration due to gravity be?

If a metal ball and tennis ball (of the same size) were dropped from the same height, both would reach the ground at the same time. It does not matter that the one ball is heavier than the other. The acceleration of an object due to gravity is independent of the mass of the object. It does not matter what the mass of the object is.

The shape of the object, however, is important. The sheet of paper took much longer to reach the ground than the tennis ball. This is because the effect of air friction on the paper was much greater than the air friction on the tennis ball.

If we lived in a world where there was no air resistance, the A4 sheet of paper and the tennis ball would reach the ground at the same time. This happens in outer space or in a vaccuum.

Galileo Galilei, an Italian scientist, studied the motion of objects. The following case study will tell you more about one of his investigations.

Case study : galileo galilei

In the late sixteenth century, it was generally believed that heavier objects would fall faster than lighter objects. The Italian scientist Galileo Galilei thought differently. Galileo hypothesized that two objects would fall at the same rate regardless of their mass. Legend has it that in 1590, Galileo planned out an experiment. He climbed to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and dropped several large objects to test his theory. He wanted to show that two different objects fall at the same rate (as long as we ignore air resistance). Galileo's experiment proved his hypothesis correct; the acceleration of a falling object is independent of the object's mass.

A few decades after Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton would show that acceleration depends upon both force and mass. While there is greater force acting on a larger object, this force is canceled out by the object's greater mass. Thus two objects will fall (actually they are pulled) to the earth at exactly the same rate.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Maths test. OpenStax CNX. Feb 09, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11236/1.2
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