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How does the height of a ball drop affect the bounce?

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How does the height of a ball drop affect the bounce?

For  my year 10 coursework we have been asked to investigate what factors influence the bouncing of a ball and the different affects it will have on the height of the bounce.  I have listed the possible variables that could be investigated.  However I am only going to investigate 1 of the following.

  • Size of ball:  This would affect the amount of air resistance on the ball and how much resistance there is against the ball.
  • Surface of Table: This would affect how the ball bounces as some surfaces will absorb the energy of the descending ball better than other surfaces.
  • Height of Drop: This will affect how much velocity the ball has on the impact of the surface below.  This would change the speed of the ball upon decent and therefore seeing it as another factor Velocity = Distance


  • Type of ball (Material): This would affect 2 things: The velocity the ball fell at and the air resistance upon the ball.
  • Temperature: The temperature of the ball will affect the speed that the air molecules move, and therefore changing the pressure within the ball and the bounce upon impact with the surface.
  • Colour: The colour may affect the bounce of ball as certain colours attract more sunlight and the more light there is, the more heat there is and this would consequently change the pressure within the ball.
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After this experiment I used a computer simulated program to predict different values and ranges of the ball drops.  I used this so I can quickly try different variables and select the best experiments to try personally.  The program had a built in random setting, however this was too widespread and the results had many anomalies and spread out results.  This still gave me a rough idea of what height to try however and I planned my drops around it.

Height (cm)

1st Drop of Ball

2nd Drop of Ball

3rd Drop of Ball



























*Anomalous point

Next using the same computer program I changed the temperature and didn’t change the height.  However, there was still the over-active randomness and the results are not entirely accurate.

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Height of drop (cm)

1st drop of ball (cm)

2nd drop of ball (cm)

3rd drop of ball (cm)

Average (cm)


























*Anomalous results

In conclusion my test supported my prediction and so I have discovered that the higher the ball is dropped from the higher the bounce will be.  As long as the temperature remains the same this rules should apply.  I feel that with more testing on temperature a better rule could be obtained.

The reliability of my work is good. All the results were obtained in the same lesson and all the points were reasonable well calculated and fitted in with the other results well.

 I have been generally pleased with my results and the results were generally in a good pattern.  The miscellaneous results were removed to give a good average.

If I had more time I would investigate more changes in variables to get a better range of results.

Ted Booty 10P1

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Although this is a good attempt at a report it lacks structure.
1. The variables structure is well written and is the strongest structure.
2. The diagram of the equipment is good.
3. The results tables are well presented.
4. The conclusion and evaluation are too brief.
5. The report needs subheadings and an introduction that includes relevant researched information.
*** (3 stars)

Marked by teacher Luke Smithen 22/05/2013

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