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


Free essay example:

Aim: Factors Affecting Bounciness of a Ping Pong Ball


Background Information

The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can change its form. The law of reflection states that the angle of incidence is always equal to the angle of reflection

The ball, released from a certain point will gain energy and fall down at the speed of 9.81ms (the acceleration due to gravity), the ball will then hit the surface and will theoretically bounce back up. Some of the energy gained by the ball will be dispersed to the surface and the ball should bounce at a lower height than the original bounce. Now different surface have different state of hardness and texture. The harder the surface, the less energy will be lost by the ball and he higher it will bounce. Now, the smoother the surface the less energy will be dissipated through the surface (see laws of reflection), and the higher the ball will bounce.

The coefficient of restitution is a measure of the elasticity of the collision between ball and floor. Elasticity is a measure of how much bounce there is, or in other words, how much of the kinetic energy of the colliding objects before the collision remains as kinetic energy of the objects after the collision. This coefficient is different for each surface. The formulae is :


c = coefficient of restitution (dimensionless)

h = bounce height

H = drop height


  1. Independent Variable: rigidity and elasticity of the surface on which the ball bounces
  2. Dependant Variables: the bounciness of the ping-pong ball
  3. Controlled Variable:
  • the elasticity of the ball
  • the acceleration of gravity
  • the force applied to it
  • the height from which it is dropped


  • Video Camera
  • Metre Rule
  • Ping Pong Ball
  • Thermometer & Thermocouple
  • Clamp
  • Retort Stand
  • A sand bucket
  • An  A1 sheet of paper
  • A plank of wood (thin plank)
  • A bucket containing earth
  • A rock or marble slab (very thin)
  • A thin piece of plastic



  • Simmer sand on the floor, smooth it evenly out.
  • Place the clamp on the retort stand.
  • Clamp the ball (this prevents us from applying any force on the ball
  • Start the video camera, release the clamp
  • Watch and count how many times the ball bounces on this particular surface and what is the height it bounces to.
  • Repeat the experiment using the other different surface (for the earth experiment simmer some earth on the floor and smooth it evenly out)

The same ball for each experiment and the ball must be placed at the same height form the ground. A thermometer must be used to measure the room temperature, if any drastic change occurs, the experiment must be stopped and started again. Lastly, a thermocouple must be used to measure the temperature of the ping-pong ball, if the balls temperature changes while the experiment is conducted, the experiment must be restarted again.


Surface Used

Height of Bounce

1st Try

2nd Try

3rd Try

Average Height







Links Used:



Yuvraj Dwarka        Page

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Physics section.

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

Related International Baccalaureate Physics Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related International Baccalaureate Physics essays

  1. Investigate the factors affecting the period of a double string pendulum

    Thus as the distance l increases then the period (time taken for one complete wave) decreases. My third and final graph also proves my hypothesis is correct as the trend line is positively upward sloping corresponding with its equation y=-0.001x2 + 0.082x +0.449.

  2. Determination of Coefficient of Friction

    The percentage discrepancy compared with the literature's was 0% what is a great achievement, but however the percentage uncertainty was 100%. In the second part discrepancy was 45% and percentage uncertainty was 27%. The percentage uncertainty of the static friction coefficient is quite good, but still the result and determined coefficient is quite far from given literature's value.

  1. Physics-investigate the relationship of temperature and the height of the bounce of a squash ...

    Type of Ball Only one type of squash ball will be used, and all the squash balls will be brand new because every bounce affects the next. Method: First, bouncing it several times causing a difference in temperature warms the squash ball.

  2. Factors affecting an electromagnet

    The main question to be answered upon completion of the lab by the students is: "what is the relationship between the current running through the wire and the number of turns that the insulated wire has made on the nail in the electromagnet, and the number of paper clips that the electromagnet can hold.

  1. Aim: ...

    Ball covered by itself: 46.2 cm To find initial momentum, We must have the velocity, and in order to have that we must have the time. S = 1/2 at� , isolate the t, we then have t = V2s / g where g = gravity = 9.8 m/s� Therefore we have, t = V 2(0.824)

  2. In this extended essay, I will be investigating projectile motion via studying the movement ...

    From the Graph 1 and Graph 2, all experimental range values obtained are less than the theoretical ones although their differences vary. The experimental ranges almost resemble a straight line. Interpretation of the graphs It is clear from the above graphs that the data collected via experimental method does not match the theoretical hypothesis very accurately.

  1. Investigation " How the Temperature of a Squash Ball affects the Bounce

    60�C x 17.4cm 70�C x 19.4cm 80�C x 22.8cm To calculate the speed of the squash ball the calculation is speed = distance time I then took the height that the squash ball bounced and divided it buy the average time (0.85 seconds).

  2. Bouncing balls. Research question: What is the relation between the height from which ...

    I decided to put them in one table to discuss the observations more easily. Table 5: Measurements for both phases of experiment. Height [�0.05 cm] Time [�0.05 s] Pioneer Dante floor table floor table 40.00 2.29 2.35 2.19 2.20 55.00 2.59 2.60 2.54 2.53 70.00 2.97 2.91 2.78 2.72 85.00

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