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If two different balls are dropped, will they reach the ground at the same time?If...

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questionermv740 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 14, 2011 at 8:04 PM via web

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If two different balls are dropped, will they reach the ground at the same time?

If there is, say, a basketball and a tennis ball, or a golf ball and a bowling ball (without the indents and hole) and they are dropped from the same height, will they both reach the ground with the same velocity at the same time? (I understand the vacuum, where everything falls at the same speed). Thank you

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:51 AM (Answer #1)

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There is one factor that has changed: air resistance.  Some of the balls you mention have less resistance -- the bowling ball for example -- than others (for example, a tennis ball).  If you are asking whether density is a factor, or weight, no, not technically, except insofar as these factors affect the air resistance; that is why we say "in a vacuum" gravity will make the balls fall at the same acceleration rate (32 ft./sec./sec.)and thus will have identical velocities throughout their fall.  The balls that Galileo dropped from the Tower of Pisa had essentially the same air resistance; common wisdom at the time expected the lighter ball to drop more slowly.

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