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physics of the bouncing ball

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Bouncing balls Aim: The aim of my coursework is to investigate factors that affect the bounce height of a ball. Before I start my investigation I have brainstormed some ideas that will affect the height the ball will bounce to: * Temperature of the molecules inside the ball * Material of the ball * Mass of the ball * Drop height * Surface dropped onto * Whether it is dropped in a vacuum After looking at the factors that affect the reaction of the ball I have decided to investigate the drop height and type of ball. I made this decision because it was an investigation that I would be able carry out in the period of time I was allowed and I had the equipment and area available to me, to carry out the investigation. The only other one I could have possibly investigated would have been an Increase in temperature however I decided not to investigate this any further. I did not use a vacuum, as it would be an un-performable investigation to make within a school laboratory. That is why I decided on the variables I did. Hypothesis: I predict that as I increase the drop height of the balls the higher the bounce height will be. I am predicting this because as the ball is held higher it gains more gravitational potential energy therefore has more energy to convert to kinetic, or the energy released by the object, and will bounce higher. If my results follow the rules of law of conservation of energy to bouncing balls then the ball will bounce higher when dropped from a higher height. Background information: It doesn't take much effort to lift a ball off the ground. However, work is being done to the ball as it is being lifted, giving it energy. This energy is potential energy. When the ball is dropped, the ball begins to move. The potential energy begins to be converted into kinetic energy - the energy of motion. ...read more.


The temperature must be consistent otherwise the particles will have more or less energy and the bounce height will be affected largely. The surface the ball is to be dropped on must remain constant. This will make sure that the surface has the same compressibility each time to make the experiment fair and accurate. I will not be using a vacuum with any of my experiments so this will make it a fair test. Range and number of tests: I will take measurements of each of the drop heights of the balls from 10.cm to 100cm at intervals of 10.cm. I will repeat this 5 times. I will do this in order to get the most accurate results and so I can get an average bounce height. Risk assessment: there are several dangerous factors to this seemingly harmless experiment. You should always take care when doing any experiment. Do not throw or miss-use the balls otherwise an injury may be obtained. Always place un-used equipment in a safe place so others do not trip of fall over it. Results Height dropped from (cm) Tennis Ball Ping Pong Ball Bouncy Ball Heavy Rubber Ball Light Rubber Ball Rounder Ball Plastic Mesh Ball 100cm 55 70 82 50 68 27 42 53 71 82 49 67 29 40 56 71 83 50 69 28 40 55 70 83 48 67 25 41 57 69 83 49 66 30 37 Average 55.2 70.2 82.6 49.2 67.4 27.8 40 90cm 51 65 74 47 58 30 37 51 65 76 45 62 31 37 52 64 75 48 63 29 36 52 66 76 46 60 28 38 51 65 75 48 63 27 37 Average 51.4 65 75.2 46.8 61.2 29 37 80cm 46 60 66 41 55 28 32 47 60 61 40 57 25 34 48 60 64 40 56 26 35 48 59 61 38 56 27 33 47 60 65 39 58 29 34 Average 47.2 59.8 63.4 39.6 56.4 27 33.6 70cm ...read more.


of around 0.1326 joules. [I calculated this by multiplying the weight of the ball (mass (Kg) X gravitational force (10n)) by the drop height, which was 60cm. This gave me (0.0221Kg X 10N) X 0.6m.]. Compared to previous height this is a difference of about 0.0221joules. The ball looses its own mass in joules every time it decreases in height by 10cm. Therefore it has less energy to store and use to bounce back up. Decreasing the height by another 10cm, the balls all varied in the amount of height they lost when compared with the previous height. Assuming my statement is correct, the balls loose their own mass in joules every time the height is decreased by 10cm, each ball should have half the amount of GPE as at 100cm. Technically this means the should bounce half as high. 5 out of the 7 balls did show this. They bounce nearly half as high at 50cm as when they did at 100cm. The rounder ball however did not show this. When dropped from 100cm it bounced 27.8cm but then at 50cm it bounced 20.4cm. It has retained nearly 3/4 of its bounce height despite the vast decrease in height. When dropped from 40cm, the balls lost on average 6cm from their bounce heights. This applies to all except the plastic mesh ball that did not differ. It retained its bounce of 21.4cm despite the change of GPE. This could have been cause by an increase of temperature. The increase in thermal energy causes the internal gases to expand therefore increasing the pressure of the ball. This makes the ball bounce higher because the more pressure a ball has inside it, the less its surface dents during a bounce and the more of its original energy it stores in the compressed air, so the pressurized ball bounces higher. All the other balls seemed to follow the normal laws of conservation and Newton's three laws of motion. At the next drop height, 30cm, there were considerable changes in the bounce height with differences as big as 10cm. ...read more.

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