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Q & A: Bouncing tennis balls

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Most recent answer: 09/21/2009
Q:
why does a tennis ball bounce higher when drop at high point1
- jenifro (age 12)
chester
A:
It's a matter of conversion of potential energy energy into kinetic energy and vice versa.   The higher the drop distance, the more potential energy the ball has.  As it falls the potential energy is transferred into kinetic energy.  When the ball hits the floor the ball is squeezed transferring the kinetic energy back into potential energy, like in a spring.  Then the ball rebounds, although with a slightly lower velocity, and bounces back up losing its vertical kinetic energy back into potential energy.
So, the higher you drop the ball from, the more potential energy it has --> the more kinetic energy it has when it hits the floor --> the higher it bounces back up.

LeeH

(published on 09/21/2009)

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