Engineering >> Engineering

Sizing a Parachute

by Adam Lytle


Submitted : Spring 2009

During the course of this project a safe drag coefficient for a parachute that a skydiver might employ was calculated. This was done using physics equations for the calculation of basic, non drag related motion, to find an acceptable maximum velocity from a fall of 2m. This value was used to calculate a drag coefficient that allowed the equation of motion with air resistance factored in to eventually reach an acceleration of zero, safely returning a parachutist of 70kg to the ground. Through analysis of the 2m fall it was found that an acceptable drag coefficient would be 17.49999. Once an acceptable drag coefficient was calculated, Microsoft Excel was used to model the motion that the parachutist would encounter. The Euler integration formula was used to calculate values for the Velocity down one column, with three other columns representing acceleration, time and position. The mathematical analysis undertaken matches the intuitive nature of falling under a parachute, eventually acceleration reaches zero and one would fall with a maximum velocity that approaches a limit, in this case 6.261m/s, which would depend entirely on the size of their parachute, and thus the calculated drag coefficient.



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Advisors :
Brian Curtin, Mathematics and Statistics
Scott Campbell, Chemical & Biomedical Engineering
Suggested By :
Scott Campbell