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What affects the bounce of a squash ball?

Extracts from this document...


What affects the bounce of a squash ball?


What affects the bounce of a squash ball?


Air Resistance

The experiment will be done in the same area so assume air resistance is kept constant.

Mass Of ball

Mass of ball is made of a particular type of mass as given by the world governing bodies

Input Force

This will be constant as simply dropping the ball will mean no force is being used.

Surface Bounced on

Difficult to measure so lab floor will be used constantly.


Dropped from 2 metres.


Material of ball is made of a particular type of mass as given by the world governing bodies



The variable I will test.


Height Bounced

The results I will measure

Predictions and Scientific Understanding

I predict that the hotter the squash ball the more it will bounce.

A squash ball is made up of a rubber sphere containing air. The air molecules in the ball will speed up as you heat it. Heat energy is converted to kinetic energy. The speed the molecules hit the side with increase, which means the momentum of the molecules is increased. Newton’s 2nd

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Goggles because of Bunsen burner

Drop Vertically

Away from bounce zone

Use tongs to handle squash ball because of high temperatures.

Preliminary Readings


Bounce Height


Reading 1

Reading 2

Reading 3










































As the temperature increases the bounce height increases.  I have chosen to do my readings at 10 intervals.


I heated up the ball by placing it in a beaker of boiling water. I measured the temperature each time. I measured temperature of water to determine the temperature of squash ball.

To get the ball at an accurate temperature I submerged the entire ball. The ball was taken out of the water as quickly as possible. I assumed heat loss each time was approximately 30 seconds.

Rubber isn’t a good heat conductor so the ball was kept submerged for a period of 2 minutes.

The ball was held at the 2-metre mark and then dropped. This was because from the preliminary readings I found that I couldn’t get adequate readings by dropping the ball from 1 metre. The height bounced was recorded by the naked eye.

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To improve the experiment I would need to use specialist equipment like lasers so I could be sure where the ball bounced too as the surface I bounced it on, the lab floor, was in some places and I couldn’t accurately control where it bounced as I made sure no input force was used to drop the ball.

Another better way would have been if I used a squash ball made of a special material which could withstand higher temperatures so I could have been able to carry on my experiment to see when the graph actually levels off.

Also I would like to see what happened when the ball was at 0 degrees Celsius. However that would have meant using ice, which is a variable, I don’t think I could have accurately kept at a suitable level to measure.

I would like to do this to see whether the atoms still vibrated causing the ball to bounce. If it did I would like to carry on getting lower and lower to see whether there was a temperature where the atoms no longer vibrated (Which in theory is Absolute Zero which has never been reached).

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