2C30.50 - Terminal Velocity

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Terminal Velocity
Area of Study:
Heat & Fluids
Tall Glass Cylinders (2), Vacuum Pump Oil, Water, Assorted ball, marbles, and BB's, and Dishwashing Detergent or Shampoo.

Place water in one of the cylinders and the pump oil in the other.  Light objects dropped into the oil should reach a definite terminal velocity which will not be apparent in a water column of the same height.  Do not try this with heavy objects as they may reach a velocity great enough to break the bottom of the glass column.  Dishwashing detergents and shampoos will work for this demonstration but you will want to chose only those in which you can see objects clearly.

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Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.