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Investigating the relationship between drop height and bounce height when a ball is dropped.

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Bradley Wells – 11X2 – Mrs Readings – Physics Coursework – Monnet

Investigating the relationship between drop height and bounce height when a ball is dropped


When an object has Gravitational Potential Energy due to its raised position, it will gain Kinetic Energy if it falls. The maximum kinetic energy it can gain is equal to the potential energy it can lose.


When the ball hits the ground and then bounces back up again, the amount of potential energy the second time is not as great as from when you first started. This is because of Percentage Energy Loss and Elastic Potential Energy. The Percentage Energy Loss is the second Potential Energy divided by the first Potential energy then multiplied by one hundred.

E.g. PE²

       PE¹   x 100 = Percentage Energy Lost

Energy stored in a stretched or compressed spring is elastic potential energy. When Elastic Potential Energy occurs, sound waves, movement and little heat is made throughout the surface it hits and therefore this can also be a factor I could measure.

Another energy factor I could measure is the Energy Conversion. You can find this out by one simple equation similar to the one before.

E.g. Height 1

       Height 2   x 100 = Energy Conversion

There are also equations to work out the Potential Energy and Kinetic Energy too.


...read more.


  • Metre ruler stick
  • Ball of some type
  • Pencil and paper to record results

Plan cont.

Now with the basic outline of the plan sorted all we have

to is sort out the variable I will change during the

investigation in order to find the best results to conclude my

prediction or theory.

Here is the list of recordings I will use for the investigation:

Height (m)











We felt these would be the right amount of results and would give us a wide range of results good enough to prove and test my prediction or theory and be satisfactory enough for our targets. One more factor we had to consider is how we would make the recordings. Of course all you had to do was drop a ball from a certain height and then see how high it bounces back up again, then work out the energy factors involved, but we were faced with another problem. We had to work out, since it was a rounded tennis ball (a sphere), where we would make the recordings from. We had three options to choose from: the top of the ball, the centre of the ball or the bottom of the ball.

...read more.


You can see from the results, that there is the odd value or values out of place, due to the fact that the figure is different to what it should be. This basically means that the naked eye is not always the best option to use for this experiment. To perform this experiment with the utter most perfection, a machine or tool of some type could be used to record the exact height of both height 1 and 2 to perfection. With this you know your results are done properly and no major mistakes were made. Luckily since I had enough results, I could spot where mistakes were made in judging the height 2 of the ball and therefore you can count them as extreme values but mistakes are always going to be made by accident. Therefore there is not much we could have done to have changed this factor.

Another thing I would have liked to have done is to have tried to record the exact mass of the tennis ball, with doing this I can work out Potential and Kinetic Energy at each height and worked out the Potential Energy Loss per result. With this I could have produced more figures in my report which could have supported my prediction with more facts.

...read more.

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