Since a free-falling object only travels in one direction, its speed is equal to its velocity. The velocity of a falling object is equal to the downward acceleration of gravity times the amount of time that it takes for the object to fall back to Earth.Continue Reading
On Earth, the acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 meters per second per second. Under ideal conditions, if an object falls for 1 second, it has a velocity and speed of 9.8 meters per second. Two seconds of free fall results in a velocity and speed of 19.6 meters per second. The longer an object falls, the faster its speed.
In the real world, the speed of a falling object is affected by air resistance and differs from the ideal. The amount of air resistance an object encounters is directly related to its cross-sectional area and its mass. A skydiver in free fall has a faster speed than when he deploys his parachute, since the cross-sectional area of the parachute is many times greater than the skydiver's body profile. Since mass also plays a role in the relationship between air resistance and speed, a skydiver weighing 200 pounds falls faster than a 150-pound skydiver. This effect occurs because the upward force of air resistance pushes harder against a less massive object, better counteracting the downward force of gravity.Learn more about Physics