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Physics of a basketball bouncing

Guest Keri


I was looking at the pictures of my basketball game, and one stood out to me for a specific reason. It was a picture of a girl bouncing the ball, and the picture was taken right as the ball collided with the ground, and is on its way up. Of course, physics is the first thing that came to mind, due to the collision and transfer of energy. When the ball is in her hand, it has all PE. When she lets go of it in the downward direction, that PE turns into KE right before the collision with the ground. Energy is always conserved, and therefore, the amount of PE at the top equals the KE right before the collision. In order to have a completely elastic collision, there would be no energy lost to heat, deformation, sound and friction. In this picture, you can actually see the deformation, which means that the collision was inelastic (energy is not conserved). When you hold a basketball from point A and let it hit the floor and come back up, it doesn't come back up to point A because of loss of energy, unless you put a lot of air in the ball, and make it very bouncy, then it has a chance of coming back up to point A. There it is again, physics in everyday life. Gotta love those "Physics Rushes"


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