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Investigating the Height and Bounce of Various Balls

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Investigating the Height and Bounce of Various Balls

I aim to find out which factors effect the height of the bounce of a ball dropped. There are a number of factors that may influence the height of the bounce:

Temperature-         If heat is added to the ball then the exterior of the ball may become more malleable and soft. If the interior of the ball is air, the air molecules will expand under higher temperatures and so create a greater pressure in the ball which may in turn cause the ball to bounce higher.

Type of Ball-        There are many different types of ball. However, the only ones available to me are a Ping-Pong ball, a golf ball and a squash ball. They may have different surfaces, different masses, different core pressures, different angles of surface or different cores, all of which could determine the height of the bounce.

Surface area-        The balls may be different sizes. My previous knowledge tells me Force=Pressure x Area so a change in area would also cause a change in force.

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I will use a Ping-Pong ball for testing the factor of height, and use a golf ball and a squash ball for the temperature factor, doing two sets of the experiment (one with each ball) and comparing the two. I will NOT use results from one ball into another’s results table/graph. This would be unfair because the balls differ.


I believe that when the ball is released form a higher point, it will bounce to a higher point. I also believe the two events will be proportional: If you bounce the ball from twice as high, it will bounce twice as high This is because energy cannot be created or destroyed so if you double the height, you double the potential, you double the kinetic energy  and therefore double the height. I believe the graph will go through the origin because if there is not height there is no energy for the ball to bounce with.

I predict that for my temperature experiments, the ball will bounce higher as the temperature gets warmer.

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        We will set up the apparatus as shown in diagram (overleaf) then drop the top of the ball from 30cm high (measuring with the metre ruler) and measure the bounce to the nearest cm of the TOP of the ball. We will always measure the top of the ball to maintain consistency. We will repeat the measured height another 5 times to gain an average, reheating the ball if required. This is because a bouncing ball is hard to measure very accurately, so a set of 5 repeats is needed for reliable results. To keep the experiment fair the only thing which we will change each time when investigating this factor will be the height. We will use the same ball throughout the experiment, therefore cutting out any factor variables.  We will drop it onto the same table. The range of heights we will use are from 30cm to 150cm. We will accurately record the results. No safety precautions are needed for this experiment.

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