Physics Coursework 2004 Table Tennis Ball Experiment

Essay by sweetness029High School, 10th gradeC, February 2004

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The variable that I am going to experiment with during this project is the height that the ball is being dropped from.


My prediction is that as I gradually lower the height that the ball is dropped from the ball will bounce lower. This is because as the ball gets lower there is a lesser amount of force pushing the ball downwards therefore giving less velocity for it to rebound up into the air. This means that when it hits the ground the atoms push each other away forcing the ball to bounce higher. A theory, which links into this experiment, is the kinetic theory. This is because the kinetic theory deals with atoms vibrating as they receive more energy and in doing so breaking their bonds.

From the beginning to the end of the experiment there are numerous types of energy involved in causing the ball to bounce.

When it is at the top of the ruler before you let it go there is gravitational potential energy. This is transferred into kinetic energy when it is falling until it hits the table. When it comes into contact with the table some of the energy is loss to the table in the form of thermal (heat) energy and some heat goes to the ball. The next change of energy is from thermal energy into elastic energy when the ball is being rebound back up into the air. It is called elastic energy because when the ball hits the desk the particles are squashed together by the force of the impact and then stretched which causes the ball to bounce. Now the elastic energy is being transformed back into kinetic energy as it is bouncing back up in the air. As the ball reaches its peak height it the...