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What affects the bounce of a squash ball?

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What affects the bounce of a squash ball?


What affects the bounce of a squash ball?

Predictions and Scientific Understanding

I hypothesize 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 increase in speed as you heat it. Heat energy is then 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 Law stated that the force is proportional to the rate of change of momentum.

Greater rate of change of momentum means greater force. So it bounces more.

But                Force = Pressure


And the surface area of the ball will remain  constant. So the pressure inside the ball increases and if the pressure inside the ball is higher it will bounce higher.


  • 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.

  • Height

Dropped from 1 metre

  • Material

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

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Reading 3










































From looking at my preliminary readings I have decided to do the experiment at 10 degree 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 1-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. Although the ruler

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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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