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The aim of this coursework is to investigate how the height in which the ball is dropped can affect the height when the ball bouncesback.

Extracts from this document...


Juliana Plant 11K Physics Coursework 01/05/07

Physics Courseworkimage00.pngimage01.png

The Bouncing Ball


The aim of this coursework is to investigate how the height in which the ball is dropped can affect the height when the ball bounces back.          

Scientific background:    

        When the ball is at rest, the energy in the ball is stored . It is called potential energy. When the ball is lifted it gains gravitational potential energy. This is the stored energy, which the ball can give out if it falls . When the ball is dropped it gradually loses its potential energy and as the ball falls, its velocity increases and possesses an increasing amount of kinetic energy . When the ball lands on the surface it loses all of its potential energy, which is transferred to kinetic energy. Since the ball has elasticity to it (tennis ball) it will bounce back. This energy is called the elastic potential energy (or strain energy), which is the energy stored in the elastic part of the object . The elastic energy in the ball is then transferred to kinetic energy causing the ball to bounce up and then down again. During this process some of the energy is wasted e.g. heat energy and sound energy.

        Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, though it may be changed from one form to another . This is the law of conservation of energy . As seen in the previous paragraph, the different energies are all transferred to different forms i.e.

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(To 1 decimal place)






































By Maan

By Me


Graph: the average height at which the ball bounced back (cm)


I have realised after the experiment that by changing the person recording the measurements can affect the reliability of the results as it is not fair testing. We originally exchanged the person recording the results because we thought that we could get a different opinion on the results, but later we realised that different people have different brain reactions towards measuring the ball therefore the results might vary. We also noticed that people might have different ways of judging the height at which the ball bounces back i.e. one person might measure the height of the ball from the bottom, whilst the other might measure the height from the top of the ball. In this case we recorded the height from the bottom of the ball because the ball was dropped with its bottom touching the measurements. (See diagrams below)

        As a result of this experiment we have come to the conclusion that for the final experiment we would have to have the same person recording the measurements, and that person will be me.

Final Experiment


For the final experiment I have decided to still use the method from the preliminary experiment but make sure that it is the same person measuring the bounce of the ball.

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        In some areas human errors were made, this is expressed on the graph; there were a few anomalous results. The errors might occurred due to the reaction speed of the person recording the measurements or it might have been that the ruler wasn’t kept upright during the experiment causing a slight variation in the measurements recorded. There are ways to avoid or improve these errors i.e. using a camcorder to record the height of the bounce instead of human eye vision, this way the tape could be played back in slow motion, increasing the accuracy of the results.

        If I were given more time, I would extend the investigation focusing on other factors, which would affect how a ball bounces. Varying the temperature might be an interesting factor as I would like to find out the freezing and melting points at which the atoms in the ball are affected, but this might depend on the material of the ball.


 Textbook: Physics for you

 C.D Rom: Letts GCSE - physics revision

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