Terminal Velocity Calculator

Terminal Velocity Calculator Tool


Terminal Velocity Calculator


Terminal velocity is a complex concept in physics that describes the maximum constant speed that a falling object reaches when the force of gravity pulling it downwards is equal to the drag force acting upward on the object. This concept has a rich history and plays a crucial role in our everyday lives.

Quick summary:

  • Terminal velocity refers to the maximum constant speed reached by a falling object.
  • The history of measuring terminal velocity dates back to centuries.
  • Terminal velocity measurements are important in daily life for various reasons.
  • There are several common reasons why someone might calculate terminal velocity.

History of measuring Terminal Velocity

The concept of terminal velocity, although didn’t officially have a name until the 18th century, has had its roots planted thousands of years ago by renowned thinkers such as Galileo Galilei and Aristotle. The actual understanding of terminal velocity was first given by Isaac Newton who used this principle to understand the motion of falling bodies.

Understanding terminal velocity is crucial as it directly impacts our daily lives. For instance, it is used in determining the speed of raindrops to understand how they could erode soil or damage property. It also plays a significant role in determining the safe landing of parachutes.

Common reasons to Calculate using terminal Velocity

Calculating terminal velocity has a wide range of applications, including:

  • Aerodynamics: Engineers use terminal velocity calculations to optimize the design and performance of vehicles, especially aircraft and automobiles.
  • Parachuting: In parachuting, the terminal velocity of a skydiver determines how fast they fall, which is crucial to ensure a safe landing.
  • Climatology: Scientists use this calculation to predict the speed and direction of raindrops, snowflakes, and hailstones, which in turn helps them predict weather patterns more accurately.

Do you know?

Here are some interesting facts about measuring terminal velocity:

  1. The terminal velocity of a human body in a belly-to-earth position is about 53 m/s (195 km/h or 122 mph).
  2. Raindrops typically reach a terminal velocity of about 9 m/s (32 km/h or 20 mph).
  3. Cats have a much lower terminal velocity due to their ‘righting reflex’ and flexibility, which is around 97 km/h (60 mph).
  4. The smallest terminal velocity ever measured is for tiny particles in fluids, which can often be virtually zero.
  5. The highest terminal velocity ever recorded was during Felix Baumgartner’s space jump, reaching 373 m/s (1342 km/h or 834 mph), breaking both the speed of sound and world records.

Understanding and calculating terminal velocity can unlock a deeper understanding of many natural phenomena and help in designing effective solutions in many industrial and scientific applications. From skydiving to designing efficient vehicles, the importance of this intriguing physical concept can’t be overstated.

Zippy Calc Key Benefits

  • FAST

    Optimized for SPEED. We pride ourselves on having FAST calculators available for you. We know you’ve got other important things to do and that’s why we’ve reduced all excess button clicks so you can be in, out, and on your way.


    No charge to you. We get paid and keep the lights on via our advertisers on the site (which we try to make as least intrusive as possible)


    Here’s a tidbit. We include stats and interesting facts alongside of each of our calculators. These may be helpful to you along your way and provide you an insight and link to a resource to help you on your way.


    Chose not to be boring. We’ve found that a lot of our competitors (yes, there are online calculator competitors, can you believe the world we live in) have very BORING websites. We’re not trying to be boring. We want you to have a chuckle.