Why will a sheet of paper fall slower than one that is crumpled into a ball?

To do:

To explain why a sheet of paper will fall slower than one that is crumpled into a ball


It is observed that when a sheet of paper and a sheet of paper that is crumpled into a ball both are allowed to fall freely, a sheet of paper falls at a slower rate than a sheet of paper crumpled into a ball. We have to find the possible reason. Let us discuss the reason:

Freely falling objects:

When an object is allowed to fall freely, two forces act upon the object-

1. Weight of the object in a vertically downward direction

2. Air resistance in a vertically upward direction

Objects that are allowed to fall freely downward always have the same gravity that attracts freely falling objects to the ground. Meanwhile, there is also another force that acts on the object at the same time in a vertically upward direction. This force acts in the opposite direction which is known as air resistance. 

A sheet of paper fall slower than a paper ball:

A sheet of paper has more exposed surface area than that of a crumpled ball. The more exposed the surface area of the sheet of paper reduces its density. Meanwhile, a paper sheet crumpled into a ball has greater density than a sheet of paper.


So the sheet of paper will experience more air resistance. So its speed will decrease. That's why the paper will fall slower than the crumpled ball.


Simply Easy Learning

Updated on: 10-Oct-2022


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started