What speed does the water fall at?

by john

What speed does the water fall at?

Comments for What speed does the water fall at?

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Jun 22, 2016
Speed of falling water
by: Anonymous

I wondered if when cleaning my razor or toothbrush, would it be more effective to hold it as low as possible below the faucet or as close to the faucet as possible. It probably has something to do with the pressure at the faucet outlet but empirically it appears to me lower works better. Not a very important question but I'm curious.

Jan 30, 2014
Water from great heights.
by: Steve Waclo

I believe I first started paying attention to water falling from very great heights several years ago on a sunny spring day at the base of Lower Yosemite Falls. The weather was gorgeous and we subsequently hiked to the top of the Upper Falls, but that moment was a marvelous opportunity to lay back and watch the falling water.

The spectacle was one that began at the top of the falls, as a steady stream, but then, as speed of the fall increased, resulted in the water disintegrating into a thinning spray that slowed the descent and surface tension pulled the water into a "packet". The packet, in a denser shape, would then drop faster than surrounding streams until it reached a terminal velocity and seemed to explode into another spray, and the process repeated.

This is the best I call recall the process and I may have confused some details. Essentially however, water falling from great heights is a symphony of change and dynamism. In fact, I wrote an email to producers of the excellent movie "Up" chastising them for not getting the featured waterfall right. Never heard back...

Mar 03, 2012
Gravity times height
by: World of Waterfalls


Actually, gravity accelerates objects that are falling. So 32ft/s^2 or 9.8m/s^2 isn't really the speed (unless it fell frictionless for 1s in which the speed would be 32ft/s or 9.8m/s assuming the object began falling from a non-moving state - something that's rare in a stream).

I'd say the taller the waterfall, the greater the speed the objects (in this case droplets) are falling. I'm sure it hits a point where resistance cancels a good deal of the acceleration resulting in a terminal speed or velocity.

Maybe even the water chunks break apart into smaller droplets which are even more prone to resistance and eventually "disappear" as mist.

To make a long story short, it really depends on the height, slope, and volume of the falls. And even if we picked on a particular waterfall, I'm not quite sure how you'd measure it.

Mar 03, 2012
Speed of Gravity
by: Ben

All falling objects fall at 32 ft/sec^2 (9.8m/sec^2). It is the rate of gravity. It might depend on the air resistance, but that would only have a minimal effect.

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