How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 958

How are the nylon ropes of parachutes able to stop the falling parachuter? How much of a force must they over come, and how might the ropes' elasticity be affected? — C
When the parachuter opens the parachute and begins to slow down, the parachute's nylon shrouds briefly exert a large upward force on the parachuter. Over a period of a few seconds, the parachuter slows from a downward speed of about 150 mph to a downward speed of 20 mph and experiences several g's of upward acceleration. To cause this much upward acceleration, the nylon shrouds must exert an upward force on the parachuter that is several times the parachuter's weight. The nylon shrouds are quite strong and can easily tolerate this much tension without exceeding their elastic limits. There should be no adverse effects on their elasticities.

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