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Typical values of drag coefficient C
Object C
Airfoil 0.05
Toyota Camry 0.28
Ford Focus 0.32
Honda Civic 0.36
Ferrari Testarossa 0.37
Dodge Ram Pickup 0.43
Sphere 0.45
Hummer H2 SUV 0.64
Skydiver (feet first) 0.70
Bicycle 0.90
Skydiver (horizontal) 1.0
Circular flat plate 1.12

Substantial research is under way in the sporting world to minimize drag. The dimples on golf balls are being redesigned, as are the clothes that athletes wear. Bicycle racers and some swimmers and runners wear full bodysuits. Australian Cathy Freeman wore a full body suit in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and won a gold medal in the 400-m race. Many swimmers in the 2008 Beijing Olympics wore (Speedo) body suits; it might have made a difference in breaking many world records ( [link] ). Most elite swimmers (and cyclists) shave their body hair. Such innovations can have the effect of slicing away milliseconds in a race, sometimes making the difference between a gold and a silver medal. One consequence is that careful and precise guidelines must be continuously developed to maintain the integrity of the sport.

A photograph of three swimmers wearing body suits.
Body suits, such as this LZR Racer Suit, have been credited with aiding in many world records after their release in 2008. Smoother “skin” and more compression forces on a swimmer’s body provide at least 10 % less drag. (credit: NASA/Kathy Barnstorff)

Terminal velocity

Some interesting situations connected to Newton’s second law occur when considering the effects of drag forces upon a moving object. For instance, consider a skydiver falling through air under the influence of gravity. The two forces acting on him are the force of gravity and the drag force (ignoring the small buoyant force). The downward force of gravity remains constant regardless of the velocity at which the person is moving. However, as the person’s velocity increases, the magnitude of the drag force increases until the magnitude of the drag force is equal to the gravitational force, thus producing a net force of zero. A zero net force means that there is no acceleration, as shown by Newton’s second law. At this point, the person’s velocity remains constant and we say that the person has reached his terminal velocity     ( v T ) . Since F D is proportional to the speed squared, a heavier skydiver must go faster for F D to equal his weight. Let’s see how this works out more quantitatively.

At the terminal velocity,

F net = m g F D = m a = 0 .

Thus,

m g = F D .

Using the equation for drag force, we have

m g = 1 2 C ρ A v T 2 .

Solving for the velocity, we obtain

v T = 2 m g ρ C A .

Assume the density of air is ρ = 1.21 kg/m 3 . A 75-kg skydiver descending head first has a cross-sectional area of approximately A = 0.18 m 2 and a drag coefficient of approximately C = 0.70 . We find that

v T = 2 ( 75 kg ) ( 9.80 m/s 2 ) ( 1.21 kg/m 3 ) ( 0.70 ) ( 0.18 m 2 ) = 98 m/s = 350 km/h .

This means a skydiver with a mass of 75 kg achieves a terminal velocity of about 350 km/h while traveling in a pike (head first) position, minimizing the area and his drag. In a spread-eagle position, that terminal velocity may decrease to about 200 km/h as the area increases. This terminal velocity becomes much smaller after the parachute opens.

Questions & Answers

what is the formula for pressure?
Goodness Reply
force/area
Kidus
force is newtom
Kidus
and area is meter squared
Kidus
so in SI units pressure is N/m^2
Kidus
In customary United States units pressure is lb/in^2. pound per square inch
Kidus
who is Newton?
John Reply
scientist
Jeevan
a scientist
Peter
that discovered law of motion
Peter
ok
John
but who is Isaac newton?
John
a postmodernist would say that he did not discover them, he made them up and they're not actually a reality in itself, but a mere construct by which we decided to observe the word around us
elo
how?
Qhoshe
what is a scalar quantity
Peter Reply
scalar: are quantity have numerical value
muslim
is that a better way in defining scalar quantity
Peter
thanks
muslim
quantity that has magnitude but no direction
Peter
upward force and downward force lift
adegboye Reply
upward force and downward force on lift
adegboye
hi
Etini
hi
elo
hy
Xander
Hello
Jux_dob
hi
Peter
Helo
Tobi
what's the answer? I can't get it
Rachel Reply
what is the question again?
Sallieu
What's this conversation?
Zareen
what is catenation? and give examples
sununu
How many kilometres in 1 mile
Nessy
1.609km in 1mile
Faqir
what's the si unit of impulse
Iguh Reply
The Newton second (N•s)
Ethan
what is the s. I unit of current
Roland Reply
Amphere(A)
imam
thanks man
Roland
u r welcome
imam
the velocity of a boat related to water is 3i+4j and that of water related to earth is i-3j. what is the velocity of the boat relative to earth.If unit vector i and j represent 1km/hour east and north respectively
Pallavi Reply
what is head to tail rule?
kinza Reply
Explain Head to tail rule?
kinza
what is the guess theorem
Monu Reply
viva question and answer on practical youngs modulus by streching
Akash Reply
send me vvi que
rupesh
a car can cover a distance of 522km on 36 Liter's of petrol, how far can it travel on 14 liter of petrol.
Isaac
yoo the ans is 193
Joseph
whats a two dimensional force
Jimoh Reply
what are two dimensional force?
Ahmad
Where is Fourier Theorem?
Atul Reply
what is Boyle's law
Amoo Reply
Boyle's law state that the volume of a given mass of gas is inversely proportion to its pressure provided that temperature remains constant
Abe
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Huntergirl
what is the meaning of in.
CHUKWUMA Reply
In means natural logarithm
Elom
is dea graph for cancer caliper experiment using glass block?
Bako
why the ship created in search way?
Mershak
Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 1. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12031/1.5
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