Enter the mass, cross-sectional area, drag coefficient, the density of air, and force due to gravity into the calculator. The calculator will evaluate the terminal velocity of that object.

Terminal Velocity Formula

The following equation is used to calculate the terminal velocity of an object.

terminal velocity formula
Terminal Velocity Formula
  • Where m is the mass of the object
  • g is the acceleration due to gravity
  • p is the density of the medium (air)
  • A is the cross-sectional area
  • Cd is the coefficient of drag

Terminal Velocity Definition

A terminal velocity is defined as the maximum speed of a falling object where the force of gravity and force of air resistance is equal.

Terminal Velocity Example

How to calculate terminal velocity

  1. First, measure the mass of the object

    Measure the mass of the object in kilograms.

  2. Next, determine the acceleration due to gravity

    On earth, this is approximately 9.8 m/s^2.

  3. Next, determine the density of air

    Air has a density of 1.225 kg/m^3 at 1 atmosphere.

  4. Next, measure the cross sectional area

    The cross-sectional area is the area that is exposed to the force of air resistance.

  5. Determine the coefficient of drag.

    Using an experiment or theoretical data, determine an estimate for the coefficient of drag on the object.


What is terminal velocity?

Terminal velocity is the maximum speed an object achieves while under free fall. At a certain speed, the force of gravity and the force of drag are equal, so the object doesn’t accelerate any further.