Q:

# When a falling object has reached its terminal velocity, what is its acceleration?

A:

When an object reaches its terminal velocity, it can no longer accelerate, so its acceleration becomes zero, and it falls at a constant speed. As an object falls freely through the air, it has two forces acting upon it: gravity and drag.

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Every object has a terminal velocity, which is the speed it can travel while having a constant force. When an object falls it typically accelerates as it falls, however, eventually the air resistance or drag becomes too great to allow the object to continue accelerating. This occurs when the gravitational force and drag become equal. If an object is falling under a source of power other than gravity, such as an engine, then it will take longer for it to reach its terminal velocity.

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## Related Questions

• A:

When the acceleration of an object is zero and the velocity is positive, the object continues to move at a steady velocity in the same direction. The object cannot be changing direction because direction change results in non-zero acceleration.

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• A:

Terminal velocity is the velocity at which an object in freefall no longer accelerates due to gravity because the drag force of the surrounding air equals the gravitational force of Earth. Objects with more mass have more weight, and it takes more drag force to reach terminal velocity.

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The terminal velocity of the average-sized house cat is 60 miles per hour. This is assuming that the cat has all four limbs extended, increasing its drag relative to its weight.