## Terminal Velocity of a Skydiver

A skydiver weighing 500 N will reach a terminal velocity of approximately 195 km/h (121 mph) when falling through the air. This is the speed at which the force of drag acting on the skydiver is equal to the force of gravity pulling them down.

### Factors Affecting Terminal Velocity

The terminal velocity of a skydiver is determined by several factors, including:

– Weight: The heavier the skydiver, the greater the force of gravity acting on them, and the faster they will fall.
– Air density: The density of the air affects the force of drag. The denser the air, the greater the drag force, and the slower the skydiver will fall.
– Surface area: The larger the surface area of the skydiver, the greater the drag force. This is why skydivers spread out their arms and legs when falling to increase their surface area.
– Shape: The shape of the skydiver also affects the drag force. A streamlined shape will create less drag than a more blunt shape.

### Reaching Terminal Velocity

A skydiver typically reaches terminal velocity within 10-15 seconds of freefall. This is because the force of drag increases as the skydiver falls, eventually reaching a point where it is equal to the force of gravity. At this point, the skydiver’s acceleration stops, and they continue to fall at a constant speed.

### Safety Considerations

While reaching terminal velocity can be exhilarating, it is also important to remember that it can be dangerous. If a skydiver reaches terminal velocity before deploying their parachute, they may not have enough time to slow down before hitting the ground. This is why skydivers are trained to deploy their parachutes at a safe altitude well before reaching terminal velocity.

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