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written by Douglas Brown
The Tracker Air Resistance Model asks students to explore air resistance of falling coffee cups by considering both viscous (linear) and drag (quadratic) models. Students see a video of falling cups and explore dynamical models that are overlayed on the video. It is distributed as a ready-to-run (compiled) Java archive containing Tracker (video analysis program), movies, and some initial analysis. Double clicking the tracker_air_resistance.jar file will run the program if Java is installed on your computer.

Tracker Air Resistance Model is one of several Tracker models used to incorporate computational physics in introductory physics. Tracker, a video analysis program with dynamical modeling, is an Open Source Physics tool.  Additional models and programs can be found by searching ComPADRE for Open Source Physics or Tracker.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Applications of Newton's Laws
= Friction
- Newton's Second Law
= Force, Acceleration
- Lower Undergraduate
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Curriculum support
= Interactive Simulation
= Laboratory
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- application/java
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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2008 Doug Brown
Additional information is available.
air resistance, fluid resistance, terminal velocity
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created June 4, 2008 by Anne Cox
Record Updated:
January 19, 2012 by Douglas Brown
Last Update
when Cataloged:
June 3, 2008
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 9-12: 4F/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 9-12: 11B/H2. Computers have greatly improved the power and use of mathematical models by performing computations that are very long, very complicated, or repetitive. Therefore, computers can reveal the consequences of applying complex rules or of changing the rules. The graphic capabilities of computers make them useful in the design and simulated testing of devices and structures and in the simulation of complicated processes.
  • 9-12: 11B/H3. The usefulness of a model can be tested by comparing its predictions to actual observations in the real world. But a close match does not necessarily mean that other models would not work equally well or better.

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)


B. Models
  • 11B (9-12) #1.  The basic idea of mathematical modeling is to find a mathematical relationship that behaves in the same ways as the objects or processes under investigation. A mathematical model may give insight about how something really works or may fit observations very well without any intuitive meaning.
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
D. Brown, Computer Program TRACKER VIDEO ANALYSIS: AIR RESISTANCE (2008), WWW Document, (http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7362&DocID=514).
D. Brown, Computer Program TRACKER VIDEO ANALYSIS: AIR RESISTANCE (2008), <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7362&DocID=514>.
APA Format
Brown, D. (2008). Tracker Video Analysis: Air Resistance [Computer software]. Retrieved April 24, 2014, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7362&DocID=514
Chicago Format
Brown, Douglas. "Tracker Video Analysis: Air Resistance." http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7362&DocID=514 (accessed 24 April 2014).
MLA Format
Brown, Douglas. Tracker Video Analysis: Air Resistance. Computer software. 2008. Java (JRE) 1.5. 24 Apr. 2014 <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7362&DocID=514>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Douglas Brown", Title = {Tracker Video Analysis: Air Resistance}, Month = {June}, Year = {2008} }
Refer Export Format

%A Douglas Brown
%T Tracker Video Analysis: Air Resistance
%D June 3, 2008
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7362&DocID=514
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program
%A Brown, Douglas
%D June 3, 2008
%T Tracker Video Analysis: Air Resistance
%8 June 3, 2008
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=7362&DocID=514

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

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