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Q & A: Bouncing balls and temperature

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Does heat affect how high a ball will bounce
- josh (age 14)
florida
A:
My own experience is that cold tennis balls don't bounce as well as warm ones.  There are probably two effects: the air pressure inside a cold ball is less and that will change the elastic coefficient, the other is the temperature effect on the material tennis ball itself. 
Why don't you do an experiment.  Take three identical balls, put one in the main part of the refrigerator, one in the freezer compartment and leave the third in the room.  Drop them all from the same height and see which one bounces the highest.    Let us know the answer.

LeeH

(published on 10/22/2007)

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