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Bowling from All Angles


Celeena

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As someone who is interested in sports, it is always fun to see physics in each individual sport that I participate in. Bowling requires an interesting amount of physics, not only in the way the ball is thrown (or rolled), but also in the way that the ball is made.

My bowling ball, is made with a weight block in the middle of the ball and a hard outer shell. Any time you purchase a bowling ball this is the case, unless it is a spare ball which is entire plastic and does not spin at all. The weight block comes in different shapes and sizes and is why bowling balls vary in style and price. The location, size of the weight block as well as the location of the finger holes all factor into how much and how well the ball is going to spin. The more rotations, the better the impact on the pins.

To throw a proper "strike" you want the ball to hit between the head pin and the pin to the right, or the three pin (for right handed bowlers). Understanding the physics in the sport can help because the degree to which the ball strikes the pins has a very large effect on the reaction of the pins. Controlling the degree to which the ball strikes (haha, strikes... bowling pun) the pins is essential in getting good marks.

Obviously there are other factors such as the velocity of the ball and the oil pattern on the lane, but those will be adjusted with time. In order to improve your bowling skills and rack up the strikes, you must first understand that angles are everything, and reactions only occur when the angles are at the right degree.

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Seems like a great sport for demonstrating conservation of momentum and conservation of energy, as you convert the translational kinetic energy and rotational (spin) kinetic energy of the ball into kinetic energy of the pins, doing work on them as you move them and (hopefully) drop them!  Great example that will come into play quite often in the next few weeks!

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