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How does the height a tennis ball bounce depend on the height the ball is dropped from?

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GCSE Coursework Experiment:

How does the height a tennis ball bounce depend _                                        on the height the ball is dropped from?


The aim of this experiment is to observe how the height a tennis ball bounces up from the floor after being dropped depends on the height the ball is dropped from, and to see if there is a link between them in any way.


Ipredict that the higher the height the ball is dropped from, the higher the ball will bounce back up again after hitting the floor. I predict this because

Background Information

What causes a dropped ball to bounce?

When a ball is lift off the floor, energy is transferred to it. This energy is stored in the gravitational force between the ball and the earth and is called gravitational potential energy. When the ball is released, its weight makes it accelerate downward and its gravitational potential energy gradually becomes kinetic energy, the energy of motion. When the ball hits the floor, both the ball's bottom surface and the floor's upper surface begin to distort and the ball's kinetic energy becomes elastic potential energy in these two distorted surfaces. The ball accelerates upward during this process and eventually comes to a complete stop.

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Drop the ball, do not throw it down. Let the ball fall out of your hand. If  you throw the ball down, you may not use the same force each time. This will not be fair and it will produce inaccurate results. Also, we won't be able to take accurate measurements of the ball bouncing back up again if the ball was thrown down because the ball would have bounced back up again with too much force.

Don't drop the ball in an enclosed space or when there are objects around that could get in the way. The ball could hit an object and this could affect the ball travelling and will produce inaccurate results.

From a preliminary experiment I did using balls of different weights, I discovered that the weight of the ball was an important factor to keep the same. The heavier the ball, the faster it will fall to the ground therefore the more and the higher the ball will bounce. If the weight was changed halfway through the experiment then the test will not be fair. This is because >info on weight<

I found that my results graph produced from my preliminary experiment did not have a smooth curve when I changed the weight of the ball halfway through. The graph looked a bit like this:


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The procedure was quite suitable, we did produce a good set of results that proved both the prediction made and the hypothesis tested true. We got the information and evidence we wanted and needed. Although the way we obtained our results was not entirely accurate, I would say that our evidence was quite reliable, the results recorded proved the prediction and hypothesis true. The evidence was sufficient enough for a firm conclusion; it makes sense and as said before, proves the prediction and hypothesis true. The evidence and the conclusion also tie in with the background information.

Further experiments to try out could be; how does the material a ball is made from affect the height it bounces?, and how does the surface the ball bounces on depend on the height the ball will bounce back up again? An improvement on the experiment we did would be to calculate the energy lost when the ball bounced. We will measure the ball first and then work out the energy lost by doing this simple equation:

Gravitational Potential Energy= Mass × Gravity × Height.

Just before the ball hits the floor, the Gravitational Potential Energy is converted into Kinetic Energy.

We can also calculate power and work done as an additional experiment and an improvement on the experiment we have just done.

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