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Department of Physics

COOL PHYSICS

Measuring the force generated by parachutes

The force sustained by a parachutist is measured with a load cell, a device that uses strain gages that detect the minute stretching of a reference steel bar that links the parachutist to his/her parachute. The electric signals generated by the strain gages are then piped to a data acquisition unit for later downloading into a laptop computer. Such a measurement is commonly performed by Dr. Potvin and his SLU-physics undergraduate assistants. For more information on their parachute studies click here. More info on making load cells can be found here and here.

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