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An investigation into what affects the height of the bounce of a squash ball

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An investigation into what affects the height

of the bounce of a squash ball

I have been asked to investigate the variables, which could affect the behaviour of a squash ball when it is dropped.

The variables that could have an effect are the temperature of the ball (or the pressure), the height that the ball is dropped at and the surface the ball lands on.

The temperature of the ball could affect the height the ball bounces

at because when the heat of the ball increases it means there is a higher pressure inside the ball because the particles have more energy and are moving faster. This means the particles will be pushing the sides of the ball outwards so the ball does not compress as much. Because of this less energy will be lost in compressing the ball so there is more kinetic energy for the ball to bounce higher.

The surface the ball lands on could affect the height the ball bounces at because on softer surfaces such as foam lots of energy is lost in making the foam move inwards so the ball does not have as much kinetic energy to bounce higher.

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Precautions I will take to make sure my results are accurate:

  • The surface is the same to make a fair test
  • Only the same ball is used
  • The experiment is repeated 3 times and an average taken to make sure no results are odd
  • Odd results are taken out and repeated
  • The temperature of the ball is the same
  • No other variables are changed

If I were doing the temperature experiment I would need to take safety precautions to make sure that the hot water used to heat up the ball did not burn anybody. I could do this by wearing safety goggles and keeping people out the way of the water. However for this experiment I feel that there are no real dangers.


This is a the table of results to show what our experiment showed:


Test 1 (cm)

Test 2 (cm)

Test 3 (cm)

Average (cm)


























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I had one odd result in my table before I re did the experiment, I think this we because I pushed the ball down with a force instead of just letting it drop. Therefore I gave the ball extra energy for the bounce. I had a couple of problems with the method because I found it hard to correctly pinpoint the height of the bounce just by seeing where I thought it went up to on the ruler and that the ruler kept slanting to one side in the clamp stand. We made improvements to keep the ruler steadier by taping it to the clamp stand. I could have used a video camera and recorded the bounce of the ball and replayed it in slow motion to overcome the other problem but I did not have these facilities. To extend this investigation I could investigate other aspects of the height of bounce such as the temperature of the ball or I could improve on this investigation by doing more heights to see if there is more proof to go with my conclusion.  

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