# Terminal Velocity

Does everything have the same terminal velocity, or does it depend on shape/mass/etc?

It depends. For an easy visualization of this, picture a falling feather versus a falling rock. It is not too difficult to see that they have different terminal velocities.

Aye, you have a point there! lol

I was thinking more along the lines of rocks and people and heavy things wot fall rather then float or drift.

It’s the same principle behind either one Terminal velocity is the point where acceleration from gravity is offset by friction from the atmosphere around a falling object. The two biggest considerations are surface area (mostly) and density (somewhat) - low density plus high surface area equals low terminal velocity.

As the previous folks have pointed out, it depends - strongly, in fact - on the details of the object.

For example, a person with a parachute packed on his chest has a considerably higher terminal velocity than that same person with the same parachute deployed above his head.

Some Guy’s explanation is right on. Basically, a falling object has two forces acting upon it:[list=1][]gravitational force - constant for a given object, but higher for more massive objects[]aerodynamic drag - this depends strongly on the object’s shape, and increases with speed (roughly, it goes as speed squared)[/list=1]A given object in free fall will accelerate until it’s moving fast enough that drag precisely balances gravitation. Just how fast that is depends on the details of the object, but it’s faster for small-area, dense objects (man with packed 'chute) than it is for large-area, low-density ones (man with deployed 'chute).