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# How fast is terminal velocity?

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The terminal velocity of a skydiver in freefall is approximately 50 to 60 miles per second or roughly 125 to 135 mph. While the term has been popularized by skydiving enthusiasts, however, the concept of terminal velocity is applicable to the study of physics in general.

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Terminal velocity refers to the fact that, although an object falling on earth is subject to the pull of gravity, there will come a point where the opposite drag on the object from the wind will balance out the force of gravity and no further acceleration will be achieved. The shape of the object affects the dragging effect of the wind and this is why skydivers can change the speed of their fall by changing the shape of their bodies as they fall. When the parachute opens, the terminal velocity is reduced to about 12 mph - or a safe speed to land.

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## Related Questions

• A:

Terminal speed, also known as terminal velocity, is the maximum speed of a falling object when it can no longer accelerate from the gravitational pull or any constant force. This is due to air resistance negating the force of gravity acting on the object.

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• A:

The terminal velocity of a free-falling human depends on the mass and density of the person. In general, the heavier the body, the longer it can accelerate before drag holds it at a constant speed. For a typical human, terminal velocity ranges between 53 and 56 meters per second.

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Terminal velocities of bullets vary by caliber, but can reach 300 to 700 feet per second. For example, a .30 caliber bullet's terminal velocity is 300 feet per second. If the bullet is shot at an angle and keeps its arc, it is more likely to reach terminal velocity.