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Inquiry: Terminal Velocity of Cats

Purpose: To find the terminal velocity of different densities of cats.

Procedure:

  • You will drop three cats of different masses (black, red, and blue) two times at each 0.5 mark on the string.

  • Use the Photogate Timing Mode from the Data Studio Program and enter 0.1 m for the distance between the gates.

  • Under Setup, checkmark only "velocity between gates"

  • Since Vf2 = 2ad you need to make a graph of V2 vs. 2d to get gravity for our slope. Using a Spreadsheet we can graph all three cats on the same graph.

  • We also need to enter a fourth graph that will represent no air resistance.

  • After all three classes have entered their "cat" data into the spreadsheet you can File-Make a Copy of the data for yourself by clicking here: Terminal Cats Spreadsheet

Inquiry Questions:

  1. Print out one terminal velocity graph which contains all three cats and a standard no air-resistance line. Explain the graph. Do heavier objects fall faster or does it depend on the situation?

  2. If we THREW a cat down from our highest height in this inquiry with an initial velocity of 10.0 m/s and we assumed no air resistance what would be the impact speed of the cat?