Air resistance examples

The information on this page is ✔ fact-checked.

Air resistance example
Air resistance example

Air resistance, also known as drag, is a physical force that opposes the motion of an object as it moves through the air. When an object travels through the air, the air molecules interact with its surface, creating a force of resistance that acts in the opposite direction to its movement. The magnitude of air resistance depends on various factors such as the object’s speed, size, and shape. It can significantly impact the object’s velocity, making it more challenging to move through the air and leading to changes in trajectory and deceleration. Air resistance plays a crucial role in various phenomena, including the flight of airplanes and the motion of vehicles.


Paper plane

Air resistance example - paper plane
Air resistance slowing down a paper plane in mid-air

When a paper plane is thrown into the air, it experiences air resistance or drag force. This force, exerted by the air, acts in the opposite direction of the plane’s motion, slowing it down. As the paper plane flies forward, the air resistance opposes its movement, causing it to decelerate. The greater the speed of the paper plane, the more significant the effect of air resistance becomes, hindering its forward motion.


Air resistance example - paragliding
Air resistance opposing the descent of a parachutist in the air

When a parachutist jumps from a height and opens the parachute during paragliding, the air resistance or drag force comes into play. As the parachutist descends, the surrounding air opposes the motion by exerting an upward force known as air resistance. This force acts in the opposite direction to the force of gravity, slowing down the descent of the parachutist. The larger surface area of the parachute increases the amount of air resistance experienced. As a result, the parachutist can enjoy a controlled and gentle descent, safely gliding through the air and ultimately landing smoothly on the ground.

Bicycle ride

Air resistance example - bicycle ride
Air resistance opposing the motion of a bicycle against a headwind

When a bicycle rider moves forward into a headwind, the force exerted by the air in the opposite direction slows down the speed of the bicycle. This force is known as air resistance, or drag force. It acts as a hindrance, reducing the forward motion of the bicycle. The magnitude of air resistance depends on factors such as the rider’s speed, the density of the air, and the shape of the bicycle and rider.


Air resistance example - airplane
Air resistance providing drag to an airplane during flight

During flight, an airplane experiences air resistance or drag force. As the airplane moves forward, the air exerts a force on its body in the opposite direction, slowing down the plane. This force, caused by the interaction between the airplane and the surrounding air, is known as air resistance.

Relaxing on beach

Air resistance example - relaxing on beach
Air resistance gently caressing a person sitting on a beach

When a person is sitting on a beach and there is wind blowing from the opposite direction, they experience the force of air resistance. This occurs as the moving air collides with the person’s face, creating a resistance that can make them feel as if they might be blown away from their position.

Falling leaf

Air resistance example - falling leaf
Air resistance gently affecting the fall of a leaf

When a leaf falls from a tree, it experiences the effect of air resistance. The air surrounding the leaf generates an upward force on it, countering the force of gravity pulling it downward. This air resistance enables the leaf to float in the air for a period of time before it eventually descends and lands on the ground.

Floating paper

Air resistance example - floating paper
Air resistance slowing down the fall of a dropped piece of paper

When a piece of paper is dropped, it experiences air resistance. As the paper falls, the air pushes against it in the opposite direction, creating an upward force that counteracts gravity’s pull. This opposing force, known as air resistance, causes the paper to slow down its descent and float in the air for a period of time before eventually reaching the ground.

Moving car

Air resistance example - moving car
Air resistance affecting the hand extended outside a moving car

When a hand is extended out of a moving car, it encounters air resistance. As the car moves forward, the air in front of the hand pushes against it in the opposite direction, causing the hand to experience a backward force. This opposing force, known as air resistance, acts against the motion of the hand and creates a sensation of resistance against the airflow.

Flower petals

Air resistance example - flower petals
Air resistance altering the trajectory of flower petals thrown to the ground

When flower petals descend towards the ground, gravity acts upon them, pulling them downward. Simultaneously, the surrounding air applies an upward force on the petals, enabling them to linger in the air. This upward force, referred to as air resistance, counteracts the downward pull of gravity and allows the petals to float temporarily before eventually settling on the ground.


Air resistance example - walking
Air resistance challenging a boy’s forward movement in the heavy blowing wind

When individuals walk in heavy, gusty wind, they often experience the sensation of being pushed backward by the air. This resistance force exerted by the air, which acts in the opposite direction of their movement, is commonly known as air resistance.


More topics

External links

Leave a Comment