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I plan to investigate the bounciness of a squash ball and the effect certain factor have on it.

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Physics Coursework: the bounciness of a squash ball over a range of temperatures Introduction I plan to investigate the bounciness of a squash ball and the effect certain factor have on it. Factors affecting the bounciness of a squash ball Temperature Atmospheric Pressure The type of squash ball The surface it is bouncing on I intend to investigate a continuous variable, and of these factors, only two are continuous. However, it would be much simpler to investigate the effect of temperature than to conduct the experiment in some sort of pressure chamber. Therefore, I will investigate the effect that temperature has on the bounciness of a squash ball. If I am investigating this variable, all the others must remain constant throughout the experiment in order to make it a fair test. This will be relatively easy as long as I keep the surface it is being bounced on clean, and make sure that the squash ball does not become punctured. Atmospheric pressure should remain constant. A squash ball bounces because of several different factors. The first of this is that it is made of rubber, which is very elastic, so when the ball is dropped, the rubber compacts, and then expands again. This means that when a rubber object is dropped from a height, gravitational energy is converted into kinetic energy as the ball is falling. ...read more.


The next problem I encountered in planning my experiment was how to measure the height to which the ball bounced accurately. I considered some sort of pressure switch, which would time the gap between the first and second bounces, but was restricted by a lack of equipment, and decided it would be easier to just ask someone else to drop the ball, next to a metre rule, while I recorded how far the ball bounced. I was worried that it would be hard to keep the ball at a constant temperature, while I was conducting the bounces. This is because I will repeat each reading several times, so the ball would cool between each one. Therefore, I decided, that I would take one reading, then replace the ball in the water, which would be at the required temperature. This would also have the added advantage of making sure that the temperature was exactly correct for each reading, where otherwise I may be out by a few degrees. I decide that the appropriate time for which the ball should be left in the water was thirty seconds. Another potential cause for error is that I might heat the water too fast, and as the thermometer would only record the temperature of the water, the ball may not have got to that temperature yet. ...read more.


I have highlighted the reading that was clearly wrong, and calculated the average of the other two points for that temperature. I then plotted this second average onto the graph, and this fits much better to the trend of the graph. This may have arisen from an odd bounce, or I could have recorded the data wrongly. Thankfully, I spotted this now, so that my graph is now more accurate. If I was to conduct this experiment again, I would collect another set of data with the same squash ball, but this time it would have a small hole drilled in the side, so that I would be able to test my theory that the bounce is only being affected by the elasticity of the rubber, until the air gets to a certain pressure. Thus, I would get another graph, which I predict would be very similar to my original one, until it gets to around 30oC, when my original graph would rise sharply, but the one with a hole in would continue at the same gradient. I also might like to investigate the influence of height on the ball. This would mean that I could see the effect of the ball bouncing at a higher velocity. This would mean that there would be a greater squashing of the ball, so perhaps the effects of the air pressure would have an influence at a lower temperature. Hector Guinness 03/05/2007 ...read more.

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