Evan's Space

Wonders of Physics

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Fiery Re-entry into Earth’s Atmosphere (updated)

This post was updated following the first astronauts launched by SpaceX returned home safely on 3 Aug 2020.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon heat shield shown off after first orbital-velocity reentry

How do spacecraft re-enter the Earth? | HowStuffWorks

Why Is It So Difficult For A Returning Spacecraft To Re-Enter Our Atmosphere?

Returning from Space: Re-entry – PDF format

SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test

SpaceX Falcon Heavy- Elon Musk’s Engineering Masterpiece

Shuttle Atlantis STS-132 – Amazing Shuttle Launch Experience

How to Land the Space Shuttle… from Space

First astronauts launched by SpaceX return to earth (3 Aug 2020)


Parachute Jump – Speed-time graph

In a typical parachute jump, there are various distinct stages/sections as you can see from the graph in the video below.

AB = constant acceleration, free fall, a = 10 ms-2
BC = decreasing acceleration
CD = constant speed, zero acceleration
at D = the time where the parachute is fully opened
DE = constant deceleration
EF = lower constant speed, zero acceleration
FG = constant deceleration

After you have learned Dynamics, you should be able to explain each stage using forces acting on the skydiver, namely the weight and air resistance.

Refer to the video below to understand the motion at various stages and how to explain in terms of forces, esp the part on why the acceleration is decreasing during BC.

You can refer to the detailed explanation in words in the comics below. Hope this post helps you to understand better!

velocity-time graph of parachute jump

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Ticker Tape Timer

Ticker tape timer is a device which punches dots on a tape at specific time interval. The tape can be attached to a moving object. With information of the frequency of the ticker timer and the spacing of the dots, we are able to analyse the motion of the moving object.

View the following videos to understand more about the ticker tape timer and also some typical questions on ticker tape timer.

Explanation of Ticker Tape Timer

Questions on ticker tape timer

Refer to this post for another example of finding acceleration


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Distance-time and Speed-time graph of 2 objects in motion

The distance-time (displacement-time) graph on the left is not related to the speed-time (velocity-time) graph. Both are of difference scenarios. But both shows the motion of 2 objects and both graph has an interception point. Do the interceptions point mean the same time in each graph?

The image below shows the basic interpretation of the respective graphs.

motion of 2 objects on distance or speed time graphs

To have examples of the graphs with values and the step-by-step how to find the time it overtakes, refer to the videos below.

Finding the exact time where the overtaking takes place.

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Work done – Man jumps from height 3 m, what is the force exerted by his legs?

A boy of mass 40 kg jumps from rest from a platform of height 3 m. He lands by bending his knees and stops his body in 0.5 s after landing. What is the force exerted by his legs? man jump

Solutions: 620 N

To solve this question, you need to apply conservation of energy (COE) to find the kinetic energy (KE) that the boy possesses just before he reaches the ground.
After which, you can solve the question using (1) Conservation of energy or (2) Kinematics to solve.

Using COE to find the KE just before he reaches the ground.

Method 1: Using Conservation of Energy (COE)

Method 2: Using Kinematics

You must know these 2 methods and always think along this 2 directions when dealing with such questions.