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What factors affect the bounce of a squash ball?

Extracts from this document...


Usman Choudhry    11.05

What factors affect the bounce

Of a squash ball?


The modifications that were made during the practical portion of the investigation to improve the plan included the following:

  • The ball was put back into the water each time it needed to be dropped again for each given temperature between 0°C and 80°C

Table of Results:

Temperature of the ball (°

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Other observations:

  • When the temperature reached 70°C the ball started to become incompressible and when the temperature of the water reached near the 80°C mark, the ball started to melt.
  • When the ball was dropped it was quite difficult to read the observations due to a couple of reasons.  One reason was that at the start of the experiment the rebound height of the ball was quite small hence it was difficult to read while most the time when the ball was dropped it happened so fast that it seemed strenuous to read the rebound height.
  • When the water temperature became higher condensation formed on the thermometer due to evaporation hence making it difficult to see the temperature reading.


After completing the practical part of the investigation and having collected and recorded the results, it has been found out that when the temperature of the squash ball is increased then it will have a much larger bounce height than a ball, which has not been heated, to a high temperature.

The graph, which was produced using the results, shows a gentle curve, which starts from 2.5°C to around 40°C.  From this temperature onwards it is seen that the curve of the graph starts to become steeper to in the region of 82°C, where it is observed that the curve starts to level off.

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If the same type of investigation were to be outlined than a different way to perform this experiment would be to use a digital camera to measure the rebound height of the ball.  This would be an improvement as the digital camera would cut out human error and therefore provide us with much more accurate results.  

The way that the camera would work would be to take still images of the ball when it is dropped, by doing this the maximum point at which the ball bounces back onto will easily be observed, due to the slow playback of the images.

The other way in which the investigation could be performed could be to use a totally different varying factor altogether.  By using a different factor a contrasting aspect of the experiment will be achieved (the use of a digital camera could be used in this part as well).  The factors that could be varied could be any one of the following:

  • Air resistance
  • Diameter of the ball
  • Temperature of ball
  • Mass of ball
  • Acceleration due to gravity
  • Height of drop
  • Type of Surface
  • Pressure inside ball
  • Material of ball

This would be an improvement, as it would give a different aspect to which factors affect the bounce of a squash ball.  The experiment, which is then undertaken, would be an improved but different angle of this investigation.  This would then yield better and more accurate results.

Physics Coursework-What factors affect the bounce height of a squash ball?

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