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Newton's Laws

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Newton's Law of Inertia According to Newton's first law, an object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. It is the natural tendency of objects to keep on doing what they're doing. All objects resist changes in their state of motion. In the absence of an unbalanced force, an object in motion will maintain its state of motion. This is often called the law of inertia.

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Now perhaps you will be convince of the need to wear your seat belt. Remember it's the law - the law of inertia. If the car were to abruptly stop and the seat belts were not being worn, then the passengers in motion would continue in motion. Assuming a negligible amount of friction between the passengers and the seats, the passengers would likely be propelled from the car and be hurled into the air. Once they leave the car, the passengers becomes projectiles and continue in projectile-like motion.

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If the motorcycle were to abruptly stop, then the rider in motion would continue in motion. The rider would likely be propelled from the motorcycle and be hurled into the air. Once they leave the motorcycle, the rider becomes a projectile and continues in projectile-like motion.

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But why then are motorcycles not equipped with safety harnesses?

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If the truck were to abruptly stop and the straps were no longer functioning, then the ladder in motion would continue in motion. Assuming a negligible amount of friction between the truck and the ladder, the ladder would slide off the top of the truck and be hurled into the air. Once it leaves the roof of the truck, it becomes a projectile and continues in projectile-like motion.

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Elephant and Feather - Free Fall Suppose that an elephant and a feather are dropped off a very tall building from the same height at the same time. Suppose also that air resistance could somehow be eliminated such that neither the elephant nor the feather would experience any air drag during the course of their fall. Which object - the elephant or the feather - will hit the ground first?

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TRUE or FALSE: The elephant and the feather each have the same force of gravity. The elephant has more mass, yet both elephant and feather experience the same force of gravity. The elephant experiences a greater force of gravity, yet both the elephant and the feather have the same mass. On earth, all objects (whether an elephant or a feather) have the same force of gravity. The elephant weighs more than the feather, yet they each have the same mass. The elephant clearly has more mass than the feather, yet they each weigh the same. The elephant clearly has more mass than the feather, yet the amount of gravity (force) is the same for each. The elephant has the greatest acceleration, yet the amount of gravity is the same for each.

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A simple rule to bear in mind is that all objects (regardless of their mass) experience the same acceleration when in a state of free fall. When the only force is gravity, the acceleration is the same value for all objects. On Earth, this acceleration value is 9.8 m/s 2. This is such an important value in physics that it is given a special name - the acceleration of gravity - and a special symbol - g.

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But what about air resistance? Isn't it nonrealistic to ignore the influence of air resistance upon the two object? In the presence of air resistance, the elephant is sure to fall faster. Right?

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why does the elephant fall faster?

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TRUE or FALSE: The elephant encounters a smaller force of air resistance than the feather and therefore falls faster. The elephant has a greater acceleration of gravity than the feather and therefore falls faster. Both elephant and feather have the same force of gravity, yet the acceleration of gravity is greatest for the elephant. Both elephant and feather have the same force of gravity, yet the feather experiences a greater air resistance. Each object experiences the same amount of air resistance, yet the elephant experiences the greatest force of gravity

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TRUE or FALSE: Each object experiences the same amount of air resistance, yet the feather experiences the greatest force of gravity. The feather weighs more than the elephant, and therefore will not accelerate as rapidly as the elephant. Both elephant and feather weigh the same amount, yet the greater mass of the feather leads to a smaller acceleration. The elephant experiences less air resistance and than the feather and thus reaches a larger terminal velocity. The feather experiences more air resistance than the elephant and thus reaches a smaller terminal velocity. The elephant and the feather encounter the same amount of air resistance, yet the elephant has a greater terminal velocity.

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All false The elephant and the feather are each being pulled downward due to the force of gravity. When initially dropped, this force of gravity is an unbalanced force. Thus, both elephant and feather begin to accelerate As the elephant and the feather begin to gain speed, they encounter the upward force of air resistance. Air resistance is the result of an object plowing through a layer of air and colliding with air molecules. The more air molecules which an object collides with, the greater the air resistance force. Subsequently, the amount of air resistance is dependent upon the speed of the falling object and the surface area of the falling object. Based on surface area alone, it is safe to assume that (for the same speed) the elephant would encounter more air resistance than the feather.

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But why then does the elephant, which encounters more air resistance than the feather, fall faster? After all doesn't air resistance act to slow an object down

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So in conclusion, the elephant falls faster than the feather because it never reaches a terminal velocity; it continues to accelerate as it falls (accumulating more and more air resistance), approaching a terminal velocity yet never reaching it.

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On the other hand, the feather quickly reaches a terminal velocity. Not requiring much air resistance before it ceases its acceleration, the feather obtains the state of terminal velocity in an early stage of its fall. The small terminal velocity of the feather means that the remainder of its fall will occur with a small terminal velocity.

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Skydiving As the skydiver falls, he encounters the force of air resistance. The amount of air resistance is dependent upon two variables: The speed of the skydiver The cross-sectional area of the skydiver

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The amount of air resistance is dependent upon two variables: The speed of the skydiver The cross-sectional area of the skydiver

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