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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33
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6answers
36k views

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 ...
29
votes
5answers
4k views

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 ...
26
votes
4answers
9k views

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 ...
23
votes
6answers
3k views

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 ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
243 views

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 ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

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 ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
173 views

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.
10
votes
4answers
4k views

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. ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
335 views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
715 views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
157 views

Do celestial objects experience drag from the near vacuum of space?

For instance do the planets around the sun experience drag from the near vacuum of space? Or do the (hydrogen) atoms in interplanetary have a mean velocity near orbital speeds? And if so would (small) ...
7
votes
3answers
327 views

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?
7
votes
1answer
840 views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
192 views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
6k views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
213 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
882 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
232 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
266 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
939 views

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 ...
5
votes
4answers
722 views

Physics Paradox about Newtons Second Law $F=ma$

I randomly thought of this- I'm surprised it took me so long to think of it, and I'm SURE I'm making a simple oversight of something completely trivial, but here it goes. (Im only in high school ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

In tennis, why does topspin serve bounce higher than flat serve?

When receiving servers (while playing tennis), I've noticed that the tennis ball seems to bounce up higher on me when the server uses a topspin serve than when the server hits a flat serve. Why is ...
4
votes
4answers
8k views

Terminal velocity of all falling objects is same?

Ideally 2 objects of different mass and weight will hit the floor at same time because they face same gravitational pull and accelerate. Will the terminal velocity of both objects be same also? and ...
4
votes
3answers
216 views

What factors determine whether wind resistance will have an important effect?

What factors determine whether or not wind resistance will have an important effect on the trajectory of a projectile?
4
votes
4answers
3k views

How Felix Baumgartner has reached the speed of sound quickly

I have watched Felix Baumgartner freefall; but I wonder how Felix has reached the speed of sound quickly, in a matter of some seconds, then we had no idea of its speed? Any explanation please.
4
votes
2answers
2k views

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?
4
votes
2answers
305 views

What was the muzzle velocity of a home made gun launch strait in the air if air time was 8.2sec?

I built a potato gun and wanted to calculate the muzzle velocity. I remember from physics that I could run the numbers by calculating time from launch until landing. After pointing strait into the air ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Does wind speed things up or accelerate things?

This question may seem odd, but I can't think of anything better. So I'll go straight to the point. Let's say there's a projectile in air going east, shot at a certain angle, with a certain speed. ...
3
votes
2answers
496 views

At what g is terminal velocity not terminal?

How weak would gravity need to be in order for a human to reliably survive the terminal velocity of falling through air? (Context: watching scifi on a space station with a variety of artificial ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the wind's force on a stationary object proportional to $v^2$?

I am on a boat docked at Cape Charles, VA, about 30 or 40 miles from the center of Hurricane Irene. This understandably got me thinking about the force of wind on the boat. Since air friction is ...
3
votes
1answer
105 views

What is the physical interpretation of the linear coefficient in this ODE for projectile motion?

For the second order ODE governing the position of a projectile subject to air resistance $$ m\frac{d^2x}{dt^2} +k\frac{dx}{dt}+mg=0 \quad k>0, \> x(0)=0, \> x'(0)=V>0 $$ a ...
3
votes
2answers
182 views

Is there a better approximation of drag (other than quadratic drag)?

This is a student inquiry sparked by sheer curiosity. Wikipedia states the drag equation, $F = 1/2v^2pC_dA_c$. (p = mass density of fluid/gas, v = velocity, c_d = drag coefficient, a_c = cross ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How to modify the bullet trajectory based on the ballistic coefficient?

I am new to the physics surrounding bullet trajectory and how it is calculated. I am a software developer and I am working on a ballistics calculator for rifles. I am using wiki for the trajectory ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
486 views

Finding the diameter a parachute must be to land a probe on Mars at specific speed

Hi I'm trying to solve this textbook example but I don't know where to begin; NASA has decided to send an experimental probe to Mars. Its weight on earth is $40 kg_f$. When the probe is near ...
3
votes
2answers
56 views

What causes drag in a fluid?

What causes resistance of an object to motion within a fluid like water? Please explain to me the molecular dynamics of the situation.
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Will a rotating body gain linear acceleration in water?

If a ball is floating in water and it has some angular velocity, will it gain some linear acceleration from the drag on it as it rotates? Edit: This is how I pictured it. I guess my reasoning is ...
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Calculating time to reach certain velocity with drag force

I was given a problem for homework where we needed to calculate the time for a falling object to reach a certain velocity when accounting for drag force. I did it by setting up acceleration as a ...
3
votes
2answers
502 views

Example of inviscid flow with drag

This was my engineering viva question and I couldn't think of any example, for I am totally convinced that there cannot be drag in a inviscid flow. It also bothers me whether it is possible, a ...
3
votes
2answers
299 views

Does air resistance ever slow a particle down to zero velocity?

If a particle moves in a place with air resistance (but no other forces), will it ever reach a zero velocity in finite time? The air resistance is proportional to some power of velocity - $v^\alpha$, ...
3
votes
0answers
61 views

What is the maximum range of a bullet flying through the sky? [closed]

How far would my bullet fly with the following characteristics? 1.2km/second initial velocity 45 degree angle into the sky 'Normal' atmospheric conditions No wind Typical high-powered rifles have ...