• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To investigate the factors that affect the height at which a ball bounces.

Extracts from this document...


Aim:To investigate the factors that affect the height at which a ball bounces.

Background Information:

Energy can neither be created or destroyed. It can only be converted from one form to others. The total amount of energy in any isolated system remains constant.

Types of Energy

  • Kinetic

Kinetic energy is the energy a body has by virtue of its motion. The amount of Kinetic energy an object has can be calculated using the following equation:image00.png

Kinetic Energy = ½ x Mass x Velocity

KE = ½ m v


J = ½ x Kg m/s

  • Thermal

Thermal (or Heat) energy is also measured in Jules. It is energy that an object possesses because it is hot. Thermal energy will conduct or convect from a hot object or area, into a colder object or area. This causes heat to dissipate.

  • Gravitational Potential

Potential energy is stored energy that depends upon the relative position of various parts of a system. The work that gravity can do to an object (if it should fall) is called gravitational potential energy. The equation to work out the amount of gravitational potential energy an object has is as follows:

Gravitational P.E = mass x acceleration due to gravity x height

G.P.E = m g h


J = Kg x m/s x metres

Gravitational potential energy is directly proportional to the height of the object. Therefore, if the object was twice as high, it would have twice as much gravitational potential energy. How the object was raised to its height is irrelevant, gravitational potential energy is independent of the path that particles travel, the object will always have gravitational  potential energy.

  • Elastic Potential

...read more.


Variables: (Controlled)

  • Height from which the ball is dropped.
  • Surface the ball is bounces against.
  • Material from which the ball is made.
  • Pressure inside the ball.
  • Size of the ball.
  • Weight of the ball.
  • Temperature of the ball.

Variables: (Uncontrolled)

  • Gravitational force.
  • Room Temperature.
  • Air Pressure.
  • We chose to vary  Height from which the ball is dropped. and keep all other variables constant.


  • Ultrasound (sonar) measuring device - a device that uses sound waves to measure distance.
  • Computer + “LOGIT” device.
  • 2 Metre Ruler + Mirror (for no parallax and visual reference).
  • Clamp Stand + Clamp.
  • Surface


Range: For this experiment, I decided to increase the height from which the ball dropped by intervals of 100mm, starting at a height of 200mm and going up to a height of 1000mm.  

  1. Set up the equipment as shown in the diagram. Turn on the Ultrasound measuring device, and load the program dealing with the device on the computer.
  2. Drop the tennis ball from the height of 20cm.
  3. To find the height bounced, take the closest recorded distance from the scanner (by the ball) away from the total height of the scanner.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 twice more.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4, dropping the ball from an extra 10cm in height every time, until you reach the height of 1 metre.

Fair Test and Accuracy Points:

  • Use the same ball for each experiment, different balls may have slightly different properties (weight, circumference, density) that could seriously impact the experiment and taint the results.
  • Keep all the variables other than the one I am measuring constant.
  • Use an appropriate scale on measuring equipment. Or results you acquire may be imprecise. Or the equipment may not have the required range of measurements on it.
  • Use the same equipment to measure the height each time, different pieces of equipment may have different ranges, or be more or less sensitive.
  • Repeat the experiment at least three times, and average the results. This is to ensure that I acquire accurate results, and am able to identify and discount anomalous ones.
  • I will use an ultrasound measuring device, linked to a LOGIT data modem, linking it to a computer. To accurately and precisely measure and record the height of the balls’ bounce.
...read more.


I could have used (instead of my own eyesight) a computer-controlled robotic device, that would take the ball to the height required, and drop it from that height. This would have meant that, by allowing the computer the measure the height (in something as precise as millimetres), I could have made sure that I had the exact height required by inputting the parameters. This would have improved the accuracy of my experiment.

In this experiment, the ultrasound scanner I used, would not measure accurately detect an object less than 200mm(20cm) from it, and this prevented me from obtaining the bounce heights when I dropped the ball from 200 and 100 millimetres. If I repeated this experiment, I would use a scanner that had a faster rate of measurement, and no “dead zone” in which no measurements could be obtained (e.g. the 200mm or less, height “dead zone” I encountered) .

        The evidence obtained is sufficient to support a firm conclusion. I used accurate measuring equipment and repeated each step of the experiment three times. This allowed me to identify any anomalous results (no matter how small). To acquire further evidence to support my conclusion, and to get a better line of best fit on my graphs, I could narrow the range of my investigation, and increase the number of readings taken. This time dropping the ball at 10cm intervals as opposed to 20cm ones. For additional work, I could alter the mass of the ball, and investigate the effect that has on the height of its bounce. I could also, investigate the effect that the density of the ball has on the height of its bounce. To alter the density of the ball, I would alter the balls’ temperature.    

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Electricity and Magnetism section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Electricity and Magnetism essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Investigation into Energy Released From Burning Various Alcohols.

    4 star(s)

    To work out what percentage the results are, I should take the result I have from my experiment, and divide it by the theoretical results. If I then multiply it by one hundred I will get the percentage. E.g. Methanol 207.9 / 539.5 x 100 = 38.42% If I did

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

    But little did we know that we were not allowed to include our preliminary work with our results and therefore only had three sets of results. Results Height (m) Exp 1 (cm) Exp 2 (cm) Exp 3(cm) Average (1dp) 0.2 9 8 12 9.6 0.4 18 19 21 19.3 0.6

  1. Investigating the Percentage Energy Loss When a Ball Bounces

    force it will it the surface with, and therefore the more power it will lose through sound, vibrations, and heat. The type of ball I use will effect my results, because some balls will have more elasticity than others, causing them to bounce higher.

  2. Find out if the motion of an elastic band changes, by the rate of ...

    When the data had been collected, I recorded my results onto a table (see overleaf). Risk assessment * ''Take care with where you put the meter sticks and make sure that they are secure, so that they don't fall over and hit someone or something -Awareness!''

  1. physics of the bouncing ball

    These results helped me to make my prediction and change necessary factors in order to get the best results possible for the investigation. My results also gave me a basic outline of the processes involved in the investigation and what I am likely to encounter or see when I come to do the experiment.

  2. Does the height a ball is dropped from affect its efficiency?

    * Thermal energy (wasted) Gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy can be worked out by these formulae. I will be using these later in my experiment: Gpe= weight (n) x change in height (m) Ke= 1/2mv2 =1/2 x mass x velocity2 When the ball is dropped, the gpe will transfer

  1. Physics ball bearing investiagtion

    actually level to be a fair test, and maybe in a few of ours they spilt over a little. - You also have to be very careful that you are dropping it that the height you wanted, not a little bit over or under, otherwise that could change your results dramatically.

  2. An Investigation into the factors of what affects the height at which a dropped ...

    but I did not have the necessary program. I shall try to perform the experiment quickly so the temperature of the ball does not vary too much. Also I shall keep the experiment in one location so the floor surface is constant throughout the experiment.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work