# Tagged Questions

The force on a body resulting from it's motion through a fluid (gas or liquid). This force is directly opposed to the direction of travel.

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### Why is oil a better lubricant than water?

How come mineral oil is a better lubricant than water, even though water has a lower viscosity? When two surfaces slide over each other with a gap filled with a fluid, the different layers of the ...
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### Why do archery arrows tilt downwards in their descent?

In the movies, arrows shot into the air rotate so that during the descent, the arrow head hits ground first. What is the source of this angular momentum? It would seem that the bow string exerts a ...
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### Could someone jump from the international space station and live?

Felix Baumgartner just completed his breathtaking free-fall skydiving jump from $120,000\,\text{feet} = 39\,\text{km}$ above the Earth, breaking the speed of sound during the process. I was wondering ...
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### Which ball touches the ground first?

This is a very well known problem, but I can't find an answer in the specific case I'm looking for. Let's consider two balls : Ball 1 weighs 10 kg Ball 2 weighs 1 kg Balls have identical volumes (...
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### What are the precise statements by Shouryya Ray of particle dynamics problems posed by Newton which this news article claims have been solved?

This recent news article (here is the original, in German) says that Shouryya Ray, who moved to Germany from India with his family at the age of 12, has baffled scientists and mathematicians by ...
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### If we threw a baseball from the ISS, could we deorbit the ball?

Clearly this is a hypothetical question. Say we bring a star baseball player into NASA, prep them appropriately for a mission in space, and fly them up to the International Space Station. They go on ...
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### Why do heavier objects fall faster in air?

We all know that in an idealised world all objects accelerate at the same rate when dropped regardless of their mass. We also know that in reality (or more accurately, in air) a lead feather falls ...
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### Does a person inside a falling bus fall to the front of it?

So I was watching Final Destination 5 and something caught my attention. There's a part where a bridge collapses and everything falls apart, so there's this bus that has a person inside (unaware of ...
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### How long until we fall into the Sun?

As a planet moves through the solar system, a bow shock is formed as the solar wind is decelerated by the magnetic field of the planet. Presumably the creation of this shock wave would cause drag on ...
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### What does an undefined formula in physics mean?

I am trying to figure out how undefined formulas in mathematics relates to physics. Take the following formula for terminal velocity. $$V_\text{terminal} = \sqrt{ mg \over{c \rho A}}$$ Say we have ...
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### Can I move an oil tanker?

Let's say that I'm standing at the edge of a basin made of concrete. This basin is filled with salt water and a ship floats on the water close to the edge of the basin. The ship is neither anchored ...
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### How fast would a truck have to go to pull a pedestrian onto the road? [closed]

Let's suppose a pedestrian P is walking or standing next to a highway. Suppose a truck T will drive by the said pedestrian at speed V leaving distance L between the two. Assuming L is a reasonably ...
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### Flat throw vs 45 degree throw of a ball

Why does my sports coach tell me that when I'm fielding I should throw the baseball 'flat' to get the maximum distance? I thought from physics that you get the most distance from throwing at a 45 ...
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### Which ball falls faster, the cool one or the hot one?

Suppose we're on the top of the Tower of Pisa (or a larger version of it) with two identical cannonballs. We heat one up (say, to 200 degrees Celsius, or some other high temperature before it starts ...
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### Why doesn't a tied balloon behave like a pendulum?

It is well known that a tied weight will oscilate under the effect of gravity if left from aside, like a pendulum. However, if we tie a helium balloon to the ground from and left it form the floor (...
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### After what speed air friction starts to heat up an object?

I understand that air friction cools off an object at low speeds. For example, if you blow on a spoon of hot soup, it cools off. Or if you swing a hot frying pan in the air, it cools off faster. But ...
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### Would an airplane flying through superfluid helium experience lift and drag?

Would an airplane flying through superfluid helium experience lift and drag? The airplane is presumed cold enough to not heat up the helium.
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### Do celestial objects experience drag from the near vacuum of space/does the near vacuum have a mean velocity?

For instance do the planets around the sun experience drag from the near vacuum of space? Or do the (hydrogen) atoms in interplanetary space have a mean velocity near orbital speeds, such that object ...
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### Why would a fat skydiver fall first in free fall?

I was having one of those obnoxious conversations with a friend where he was arguing that a fat skydiver would reach the ground faster than a skinny skydiver. To me it seemed as obvious that the world ...
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### Acceleration of two falling objects with identical form and air drag but different masses

I have a theoretical question that has been bugging me and my peers for weeks now - and we have yet to settle on a concrete answer. Imagine two balloons, one is filled with air, one with concrete. ...
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### How do I calculate the distance a ship will take to stop?

I am a River Pilot and drive ships for a living. These ships are very large and range up to 160,000 Metric Tons. I am trying to figure out how to calculate the distance to stopping. I have a basic ...
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### What causes a soccer ball to follow a curved path?

Soccer players kick the ball in a linear kick, though you find it to turn sideways, not even in one direction. Just mid air it changes that curve's direction. Any physical explanation? Maybe this ...
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### Do objects have a tendency to fall in their most aerodynamic position?

In one of my physics classes, we are using slow motion video to analyze the falling motion of an object and then find out the drag coefficient of that object etc. I noticed while doing this that if I ...
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### How would you swim in inviscid water?

The viscosity of water creates drag on swimmer's body so its effect is to slow down the swimmer. However the viscosity seems to be essential for pushing the water backwards by the swimmer's arms and ...
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### Why does tossing a coin in a train and on a train differ?

Suppose that I am inside of a moving train. I have a coin in my hand and I am standing still. If I toss this coin straight up, it will fall back into my hand. Now, suppose that I am on that moving ...
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### Would a fast inter-stellar spaceship benefit from an aerodynamic shape?

Some (generous) assumptions: We have a spaceship that can reach a reasonable fraction of light speed. The ship is able to withstand the high energies of matter impacting at that speed. Given the ...
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### Why do co-rotating vortices coalesce, but not counter-rotating ones?

In studying the aerodynamics of modern aircraft equipped with high-lift devices, I have discovered that quite a number of distinct trailing vortices are present in the immediate wake of an airplane in ...
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### Will a bullet dropped and a bullet fired from a gun horizontally REALLY hit the ground at the same time when air drag is taken into account?

In a world without air, I understand they definitely would. However, with drag taken into account, I think they wouldn't. Since the drag force varies proportional to the square of speed (ignoring the ...
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### Why aren't airplanes like golf balls?

Ok this is a silly question but here it goes Although it is good to have a laminar flow of the air around the object for low drag but the laminar flow is prone the phenomena called separation (sounds ...
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### How much more efficient is a road bike than a mountain bike? [closed]

What would be a good estimate on the difference of efficiency between a road bike and a mountain bike? A number of links cite all the usual reasons: thinner tires, better aerodynamics... But I'm ...
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### Explanation that air drag is proportional to speed or square speed?

A falling object with no initial velocity with mass $m$ is influenced by a gravitational force $g$ and the drag (air resistance) which is proportional to the object's speed. By Newton´s laws this can ...
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### If starting speed is faster than terminal velocity then what?

If an object is say thrown down (vertically) at an initial speed that is faster than its terminal velocity, what would happen to that objects speed? Would it slow down?
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### Could some design of a propeller be used in both air and water?

Propellers in water are smaller in diameter. They also move more slowly. On the other hand, aircraft propellers are larger in diameter, have narrower blades and operate at very high speeds. An ...
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### What would a person experience in a free-falling elevator in a shaft long enough to reach terminal velocity?

Assume we had an elevator shaft long enough for a free-falling elevator to reach terminal velocity. As I understand it, when the elevator begins to fall a person inside would experiences ...
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### Drag on a spinning ball in fluid

I am a physics newbie (high school level) and I am wondering what happens when a spherical object is spinning on the spot in a bunch of gas (no gravity here, just an imaginary physics sandbox). Am I ...
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### How should I throttle my rocket to reach highest altitude? [closed]

"Real world" problem. Suppose we want to launch a rocket equipped with an engine which can be throttled as we prefer. Suppose also that the amount of fuel burnt per time is directly proportional ...
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### Does fire create air resistance?

Does fire create air resistance/drag? So, for example, would it be harder to swing a flaming sword than a normal one?
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### Equation for the trajectory of a frisbee?

I'm the lead programmer on a FIRST robotics team, and this year's competition is about throwing Frisbees. I was wondering if there was some sort of "grand unified equation" for Frisbee trajectory that ...
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### Assuming everything else is equal, which will stop first: a heavier car or a lighter car?

If the friction from brakes, wind resistance and all such factors remain constant, which will stop first? A heavier car or a lighter car? How will the momentum of the car and gravitational pull on a ...
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### Is drag force on an oscillating sphere an effective model for a swimmer?

I saw the latest video from Sixty Symbols Little Swimmers. At the end of the videos he says that we do not know how to calculate the movement of the little swimmers. He says(6:14-6:40 in video) that ...
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### Terminal velocity after vertical launch

If an object is launched directly up at its terminal velocity, will it have enough time/energy to reach its terminal velocity again before it hits the ground, or will drag prevent this? In this case, ...
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### Physics Paradox about Newtons Second Law $F=ma$

If force equals mass times acceleration, wouldn't a basketball dropped from the top of the Eiffel tower exert the same force on the ground as a basketball dropped a foot off the ground? They both have ...
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### Does gravity slow down a horizontally thrown baseball?

I have a simple question: Does gravity slow down a horizontally thrown baseball? Assuming when a baseball is thrown it has a vertical velocity as well, does it slow does the ball? Any help is much ...
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### What is the terminal velocity of a sheep?

Inspired by this question on Gaming.SE Using actual in-real-life physics, what would the terminal velocity of a sheep actually be? I would assume it would be around 50m/s, but I might be wrong. ...
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### If an electric car were to drive without having to stop, would the range be greatly affected by the speed at which the vehicle is moving?

Of course aerodynamics factors into this question, and the faster you are moving the more air you have to push out of your way, the more energy you use. But would the difference be only a small ...
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### Benefits of rear spoiler in cars

What would be the benefits of rear spoilers in cars, like this one:
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### How can you calculate air resistances at different speeds?

I've read that at 50mph air resistance to an average car is the equivalent of driving through water and at 80mph it's the equivalent of driving through oil. I can't find any references online to ...
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### Finding optimal angle for projectile, taking into account linear (Stokes) drag

If you throw a projectile from the ground at a certain angle, it's not hard to see that, assuming we're in a vacuum, throwing it at 45º from the ground will always make it go farthest before it hits ...
I'm working on investigating the effect fog has on drag. I have assumed an air density of $1.225 \frac{\text{kg}}{\text{m}^3}$ for dry air, but I don't know what value for density I could assume that ...