What Is Air Resistance?
Submitted by: Kayla H
Last modified: October 3, 2011
For the past few weeks, in my science class, each of us have been working on a certain scientific topic/question. My assigned question is “what is air resistance?”
What is air resistance?
Air resistance is a type of fluid friction. Air resistance occurs between moving air and objects. Air resistance is an Friction slows down the movement of an object. The air resistance can be decreased when the sides of the object are rounded.
How does air resistance effect our everyday lives?
Air resistance can effect you in helpful ways and in unhelpful ways. For example when riding in a car because there is air and your car is a moving object air resistance is created. Air resistance (because it is pushing against your vehicle) slows you down and obviously you do not go as fast as if the air was not pushing against. The same thing happens to a plane. The air flowing around it slows the airplane down. Did you know that air resistance can also be helpful? For example if you were going to parachute out of a plane air resistance would help you because the air resistance pushes up on the parachute and causes the parachute to slowly float to the ground. If there was no air resistance when you parachute out of the plane your parachute will become worthless and you will quickly and dangerously fall to the ground.
air resistance acting on a parachute

air resistance acting upon a car

How can we decrease air resistance in our everyday lives?
Air resistance effects our lives because most of us drive cars everyday. Usually the sides of a car are curved. Do you ever wonder why? The sides of your car are curved because when the the sides of your car is curved the air can flow more easily around your vehicle. The effect of the air being able to flow more easily is that then the air resistance is decreased and your car is able to move faster. The process of rounding sides is called streamlining.

Fluid Friction: When a moving object is slowed down by forces such as water or air.
Streamline: to round the sides of a moving object to decrease air resistance.
Air resistance: type of friction that occurs between a moving object and air.

  • Ardley, Neil. How things work. Pleasantville, NY: Reader's Digest, 1995. Print.
  • Kerrod, Robin, and Sharon A. Holgate. The way science works : discover the secrets of science with exciting, accessible experiments. New York, NY: DK Publishing, 2002. Print.
    • McGrath, Kimberley A., and Stacey Blachford. The Gale encyclopedia of science. : vol. 2 : catastrophism - eukaryotae. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. Print.
    • "parachute." Compton's by Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2011. Web. 27 Sept. 2011.
<http://school.eb.com/comptons/article-9276277>. parachute. (2011). In Compton's by Britannica. Retrieved from http://school.eb.com/comptons/article-9276277 Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition, s.v. "parachute," accessed September 27, 2011, http://school.eb.com/comptons/article-9276277. parachute 2011. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Retrieved 27 September 2011, from http://school.eb.com/comptons/article-9276277