In vacuum, object free falling under gravity, the sum of Gravitational Potential Energy(GPE) and Kinetic Energy (KE) is a constant. The GPE is a decreasing side of a quadratic and KE is a increasing one , thus making it's sum a constant straight line.
Now, in real world, accounting for air drag, the object attains terminal velocity, and falls down at a uniform rate. So GPE goes down linearly (instead of a quadratic) and KE stays constant since velocity is constant. So the total energy of the system appears as though it is reducing continuously. Since that is not true, as energy is lost in viscous drag.
My question is, can someone explain me in detail how the energy is being redistributed. Also, the energy being lost here is not a constant term but actually a linearly increasing function with respect to time.
In the image above. The left side shows the plot of an object in freefall accelerating under gravity. The 3 plots being GPE, KE, TE versus Time.
The right side shows the plot of an object in terminal velocity state.
Trying to be more specific, it is very clear, energy is lost due to viscous drag which is a function of velocity. Now since the object is in terminal velocity state, the drag has a constant value. But for the total energy to remain constant, the energy dissipated must increase with time. So how is a constant drag value causing energy to be dissipated in a linearly increasing fashion?