EXPLORATORIUM INSTITUTE FOR INQUIRY

©1997 The Exploratorium

Parachutes

Parachute

  • Cut a 1 4-inch square from sturdy plastic
  • Cut 4 pieces of string 14 inches long
  • Securely tape or tie a string to each corner of the plastic
  • Tie the free ends of the 4 strings together in a knot. Be sure the strings length
  • Tie a single string about 6 inches long to the knot
  • Add a weight, such as a washer to the free end of the string
  • Pull the parachute up in the centre. Squeeze the plastic to make it as flat as possible
  • Fold the parachute twice
  • Wrap the string loosely around the plastic
  • Throw the parachute up into the air

Results. The parachute opens and slowly carries the weight to the ground

Why? The weight falls first, unwinding the string because the parachute being larger, is held back by the air. The air fills the plastic slowing down the rate of descent if the weight falls quickly a smaller object needs to be used.