MadSci Network: Physics

Re: To accurately measre terminal velocity (ball bearings and viscous fluids)

Date: Mon Feb 11 16:57:02 2002
Posted By: Ronald Fisch, Physics, Washington University
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1012391141.Ph

I assume that the cylinder holding the syrup is transparent.  I suppose
that you could create some fancy hi-tech way of making this measurement.
However, if you choose the distance properly, the time to be measured will
be a convenient length of a few minutes.  In that case, you can get more
than enough accuracy by marking two lines on the outside of the cylinder
(by using some kind of a pencil), and measuring the time by using your
eyes and a watch.

I suggest that you use three equally spaced lines, and measure the times
that the balls reach each line.  That way you can check that the balls
have actually reached the terminal velocity.

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