how does air resistance affect falling objects

Since we already know that air resistance is the force that slows down objects falling to the ground but exactly how does air resistance affect falling objects

It makes an object fall at a slower speed and reach the ground later than it would in a vacuum. 

The faster an object falls, the bigger the air resistance and so the slower it falls.

Air resistance makes an object fall at a slower speed and reach the ground later than it would in a vacuum. 

If you drop an object from rest, it will fall faster than if there were no air resistance at all.

What Does Air Resistance Do?

air resistance whle climbing uphill

Air resistance is the fluid resistance of air to the motion of an object. 

It’s also known as drag, and it’s a force that slows down an object moving through the air.

Air resistance comes from friction between molecules in the atmosphere and your body. Or other things you’re moving through it like water. 

When you go up a hill, for example, there are more molecules in front of you than behind. 

Because they have less distance to travel before they reach their destination at your backside. 

The higher up you go on a mountain trekking adventure with friends who are feeling adventurous today.

Tip: As soon as air resistance begins to affect the falling object, it begins slowing down its descent.

Why Does It Act Like This?

When an object falls through the air, it experiences resistance from the air.

This is because the air has to push back against this object and slow it down. 

In addition to slowing down objects, the air can also make things more difficult for them to move through.

Even though air is extremely light and takes up a lot more space than the object, it can affect the way an object moves through the air.

Does Air Resistance Affect Falling Objects?

air resistance affect falling object

Yes, air resistance can affect falling objects. Air resistance is a force that acts on an object when it is moving through the air. 

It is caused by the air molecules colliding with the surface of the object and exerting a force on it. 

The magnitude of the air resistance force depends on the shape and surface area of the object, as well as the density and speed of the air.

For objects falling near the surface of the Earth, the effect of air resistance becomes more noticeable as the object’s speed increases. 

At very slow speeds, the force of gravity is much stronger than the force of air resistance, and the object falls straight down. 

However, as the object’s speed increases, the force of air resistance becomes more significant, and the object will start to slow down and fall in a more curved path.

How Does Air Resistance Affect Falling Objects?

objects falling

Air resistance causes objects to land later than they would if there was no wind. 

When you release an object, the further it is from your body. 

The more time that elapses between releasing and hitting the ground before finally reaching the bottom or any point on the earth’s surface. 

This means that, while some people can throw their basketballs farther than others with little effort. 

Everyone else will have their hands full trying not only to catch but also to throw back perfect shots.

Air resistance also increases with speed according to this formula:

  • Air resistance is proportional to the surface area of an object.
  • The shape of an object can affect how much air resistance it experiences.
  • Streamlined shapes experience less air resistance than flat shapes, while pointy ones experience less than flat ones.
Tip: The faster an object falls, the bigger the air resistance and so it falls slower.

When Does Air Resistance Affect You?

when does air resistance affect you

In all of these situations, you are likely to experience air resistance. 

Air resistance is the friction between the air and your body, so when you go into a plane or car, there will be more friction between your body and the airplane/car because they are moving at different speeds.

In addition to being in motion, people also have different shapes when they are running or biking compared to standing still on land or water. 

This means that there will be different levels of air resistance for each person depending on how much space there is around them. 

This can result in varying forces acting toward them depending on their size.

Tip: If you have more surface area relative to your mass then there will be less air resistance than if your ratio were reversed.

Effects Of Air Resistance On Falling Objects

leaf falling from tree

If you’ve ever tried to throw something, you know that air resistance is an integral part of ordinary life. 

Air resistance affects falling objects in a variety of ways. 

It slows them down, and it can increase or decrease their height above the ground depending on their shape and mass. 

Air resistance affects falling objects in a variety of ways, a few are explained below.

Effect #1: It Slows Them Down

Air resistance is a force that acts on an object moving through air. 

It’s proportional to the square of your velocity and inversely proportional to the coefficient of drag. 

large surface object slows down motion

Which is just an inverse relationship between how fast you’re going (in miles per hour) and how much lift force there is on your body.

For example, if you’re running at 50 miles per hour and have 100 pounds’ worth of lift on your back, then the air resistance will slow you down. 

It’ll slow down your speed by 20 percent because it acts like this.

Effect #2: Air Resistance Increases With An Object’s Surface Area

When a falling object is subjected to air resistance, it encounters a force opposed by the air. 

The more surface area of an object, the greater its resistance to airflow and the less likely it will be able to move through space at any given speed. 

For example: consider two objects with equal mass and size but different surfaces. 

If both are dropped from the same height onto a flat surface (i.e., not curved) they’ll behave very differently. 

increased air resistance

The larger one i.e the one with more surface area will take longer than its smaller counterpart.

This is mainly because it falls through space until eventually reaching impact with the bottom-most point.

The reason for this difference in motion lies in how much kinetic energy has been lost during descent due to friction against air molecules.

Tip: Air resistance increases as your speed increases because you're lifting more mass than if you were walking or running at the same speed with no wind blowing on you at all.

How Does Air Resistances Affect The Acceleration Of Falling Objects?

the acceleration

Air resistance is a force exerted by air on an object. It has a magnitude and direction. 

The force of air resistance always opposes the motion of the object.

Air resistance is a force that opposes the motion of an object. The force of air resistance depends on three factors: shape, size, and velocity. 

When an object moves through the air, it encounters a force that opposes its motion; it is called aerodynamic drag

And it can be divided into two categories based on how much energy is required to overcome this drag:

  • Kinetic energy (KE) – Energy required to overcome gravity and other forces acting on your body while walking down a street or running across an open field.
  • Potential energy (PE) – Energy stored in potential form within your body as you’re lifted into the air by an elevator during your commute home from work each day.

In general, the larger or heavier an object is, the more air resistance it produces. Likewise, the faster an object moves, the more air resistance it experiences.

How Does Air Resistance Affect Objects With Large Surfaces?

Objects that have large surface areas relative to their masses experience greater air resistance when moving through the earth’s atmosphere. 

object with large surface

Because they have more surface interaction with the air molecules. 

For example, small objects tend to accelerate more slowly than large ones. Baseballs accelerate faster than curling stones when dropped. 

Because baseballs are spherical and curling stones are flat discs with small surface areas relative to their masses. 

This means that baseballs experience less air resistance when falling through the earth’s atmosphere than curling stones do.

Parachutes are designed to increase an object’s surface area. And thus produce greater air resistance as they move through the earth’s atmosphere. 

Which slows down falling objects before they reach the ground.


How does air resistance affect falling objects? Air resistance is a force that affects falling objects in many ways. 

It depends on the shape and size of the object, its density, the speed at which it falls, and the amount of air present.