Let’s Get Physics-l: Free Fall

Free fall is the acceleration of a body due to gravity whilst ignoring the effects of gravity and buoyancy. We ignore the latter forces because things can get a little bit more complicated when you factor them into equations.

On Earth, we take acceleration due to gravity to be 9.81 m/s^2 (On average. It varies ever so slightly depending on where you are. If you’re chilling at the North pole the value is 9.8322. If you are getting “lit” at the Equator then expect a value of 9.7803). This value is constant for all objects which further means that if you drop any two objects (In a vacuum) they will fall at the same rate. Hang on. Can anyone else here that? It sounds like a small humanoid plant shouting “I am Gro-“… Wait… Oh dear…

img_4093-e1495967830913.jpgFor goodness sake… What has he gotten himself caught up in now. As it happens, this situation is actually quite helpful (What a coincidence…) As is clearly apparent, the Abilisk is 1000 times heavier than Groot in terms of mass. However, despite this sizeable difference in mass, both are falling at the same rate due to the fact that acceleration due to gravity, or g, is same for both. That’s not to say the force exerted is the same, far from it (As you can see, the Abilisk is exerting a far greater force than Groot (Though I did forget units for Groot’s force. Can I even call myself a Physicist? (To be fair, I’m not sure I can myself one anyway but hey, why not). Never forget units!)), but the rate at which each is falling is the same (As, for the sake of the example, they are falling through a vacuum).


Summary

  • Free Fall – Acceleration due to gravity, ignoring air resistance and buoyancy.
  • Acceleration due to gravity – g – 9.81 m/s^2
    • Objects fall at the same rate (In a vacuum).
    • The forces they exert are different.

Free fall, redefining the term “my g” for generations to come (Probably not, but one can dream (Hang on, do people even refer to each other as g anymore? I use it so I guess so). As ever, please leave any thoughts or questions in the comments below and I will happily try and assist as best I can. Thank you.

(The Characters referenced are property of Marvel comics and I in now way lay claim to them. They have simply been used to help convey a concept.)
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3 thoughts on “Let’s Get Physics-l: Free Fall

  1. I am 100% certain that if my science teachers used adorable and hilarious LEGOs in their lectures/lessons/examples I would have taken more science courses in high school and college. Now I’m left doing general science reading on my own for fun/to learn – and texting my science teacher friends to explain things to me I don’t get :). Thanks for making the information in these posts easy to follow and the visuals engaging too!

    Liked by 1 person

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