In this issue of Math in the News, we look at Felix Baumgartner's dramatic supersonic dive. It provides an ideal opportunity to study terminal velocity. For more math resources go to www.media4math.com.
Math in the News Felix Baumgartner plunged toEarth in a dramatic supersonicdrop. He dropped from over100,000 ft. and quicklyaccelerated downward. But hisspeed leveled off to what’sknown as the terminal velocity. What is terminal velocity? Inthis issue we look at the graphsof objects in motion with andwithout wind resistance to get a Felix Baumgar tner’s dramaticbetter understanding of terminal jump broke the speed of sound.velocity.
Math in the NewsWatch this video to see Baumgartner’sdescent.http://www.redbullstratos.com /gallery/?mediaId=media1902707739001
Math in the NewsThis BBC article alsoshows a graph ofdescent.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-19947060
Math in the NewsIn free-fall, whenthere is no windresistance, aspeed-vs-timegraph is parabolic.Speed isconstantlyincreasing.
Math in the NewsThe downwardchange in speed(acceleration) isdue to the force ofgravity. Without anopposing force,speed increasesquadratically.
Math in the NewsBut the Earth’satmosphereprovides theopposing force,slowing down thedownward motion.The force of windresistanceincreases as thespeed of the objectincreases.
Math in the NewsWith windresistance,eventually thedownward forceand the resistingforce are balanced,resulting in aconstant speed.This is the terminalvelocity.