Air Resistance vs Water Resistance: Detailed Insights!

Air and water resistance are the resistive forces exerted on the object in motion. Let us discuss both resistive forces and their alikeness in this article.

Below is a table distinguishing the difference between air resistance and water resistance:-

Air Resistance Water Resistance
Air resistance is a drag force caused by the air. Water resistance is a force caused by water.
The air resistance is generated in the direction opposing the object’s motion due to gravity. The water resistance is generated in the direction opposing the water flow direction.
The air resistance is felt on the object moving in the air column. The water resistance is felt when the object moves against the direction of the water current.
The buoyant force is less on the object undergoing air resistance. The buoyant force highly intensifies the water resistance.
The air resistance pushes the object against gravity. The water resistance drives the object in the direction of water flow.
The air resistance slows the object accelerating down the Earth’s surface. The water resistance slows the object present in the water.
The air resistance increases with the air pressure. The water resistance increases with the pressure due to the volume of water.
The air resistance is comparatively less as air density is less than water. The water density is more than the air, so the water resistance is high.
The gravitational acceleration is higher in the air compared to water. The gravitational acceleration is less in water compared to air.
Examples of air resistance are flying a paper plane, airplane, or ball, leaves falling from a tree, and feathers in the air. Examples of water resistance are a ball floating on water, a stone thrown in the water, dropping a silver coin in a well, swimming, etc.
Air resistance vs Water resistance

We shall further discuss some similarities between air and water resistance to understand the topic more clearly.

What are the similarities between air resistance and water resistance?

Air and water resistance are different terms, but there are some similarities between the both. Let us ponder on some of the similarities between the two.

The air and water resistance are the resistive forces, and both are responsible for slowing down the speed of an object running through the respective medium. Both the air and water resistance are affected by the pressure, density, temperature, object velocity, area of an object, mass, size and shape.

swimming
Image Credit: Swimming by Isiwal (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Do the air resistance and water resistance varies due to their densities?

The object’s speed through the medium depends directly on the density. Let us discuss whether the air and water resistance varies due to their densities.

The air resistance and water resistance vary due to their density difference because the density of water is 1000 kg/m3, and the density of air is 1.225 kg/m3. Since the water density is very high, thus reducing the object’s speed drastically in water, the water resistance is higher than the air resistance.

Conclusion

We can conclude from this article that air resistance and water resistance are resistive forces responsible for slowing the object’s speed. There are wide dissimilarities between both, as air resistance comes into the picture when the object is in the air and water resistance on the object in the water.

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