Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology
Innovative Uses

The Terminal Velocity of a Snowflake

During a recent snowfall, Richard Born, a retired associate professor from Northern Illinois University, captured a slo-mo video (240 frames/s) of falling snowflakes using his iPhone® X. The camera was approximately a foot in front of a wooden fence to serve as a background for the falling snow.

With the video analysis features of Logger Pro 3, Richard determined both the wind speed and the terminal velocity of snowflakes. His video captured the (x,y) position over time for a dozen snowflakes, and each snowflake was captured in its own series.

Photo of fence orientation during video capture with annotations
Fence orientation during video capture
Graph of snowflakes falling with the wind speed measured
Analysis of the snowflake horizontal motion yields a wind speed estimate of ~1.4 m/s
Graph of snowflakes falling with the terminal velocity measured
Analysis of the snowflake vertical motion yields a terminal velocity estimate of ~2 m/s

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