The Physics of EXTREME!!

Sky Diving

How do parachutes work?

As you jump out of a plane you accelerate because gravity pulls you down. The air resistance increases as your speed increases and so you start to slow down. You reach a terminal velocity - but at this speed you would most probably splat when you hit the ground. By using a parachute, you increase your air resistance and so lower your terminal velocity so that it is safer to land. This is shown on the graph below:

parachuting graph

Freestyle Motocross Backflip Limit

Want to know how many backflips you'll be able to do on a motor bike? Take a look at this link.


When you think of Physics, Extreme Sports may not be the first thing that pops into your head. But everybody that does extreme sports must have an intuitive grasp of the physical world and how it works. In other words - without knowing it always they are brilliant at Physics!! This page explains some of the physics of EXTREME...


How do they work out the length of the bungee jump so you just touch the water and don't break your neck?

It's all to do with the conservation of energy. The gravitational energy at the top is converted into kinetic and then strain energy. Using Hooke's Law you can work out how far the bungee chord will stretch depending on the weight if the person. Check this out in the AS level mechanics module lessons 27, 28, 31 and 32.