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The relationship between the shape of a parachute and its drop velocityFeatured science projectScience project video

Conclusion

The hypothesis holds true: among the parachutes, the round one took the longest amount of time to land. The round canopy had the least amount of air that escaped from its sides, fully utilizing its surface area by building up air resistance and lowering the drop velocity.

In previous wars, the military used parachutes to drop paratroopers and supplies safely beyond enemy lines. At present, they are used primarily for humanitarian purposes; to deliver medicine and food to inaccessible areas (these areas may be inaccessible because of their remoteness or because they have been hit by natural disasters). For extreme sports enthusiasts, parachuting, skydiving and base jumping are popular activities.

Also consider

Use parachutes that have surface areas of difference sizes.

Drop the parachutes from different heights.

References

Parachute - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parachute

How does the parachute work? - http://www.buzzle.com/articles/how-does-the-parachute-work.html

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Complexity level:
8
Project cost ($):
20
Time required:
It will take an hour to set up the science fair project, and an hour to conduct it
Material availability:
The materials can be purchased from a hardware store.
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements. Adult supervision recommended.