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Bowling Physics

  1. Dec 28, 2007 #1

    I'm trying to solve an argument and hope someone can point me in the right direction.

    How does one calculate the impact force of a 7.26kg bowling ball traveling at 12 meters per second and impacting a single pin weighing 1.64kg. I calculated the energy of the bowling ball at 662 newton meters but i have no idea where to go from here as its been 7 years since I took a physics class. I'm assuming the impact force will be measured in something like g-forces.

    The only formula I could find was f=m(dv/dt) but I don't think thats what I'm looking for.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2007 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Usually for something like this you would never bother with trying to calculate the impact force. What you would estimate would be the pin's change in momentum assuming an elastic collision. (Two equations - conservation of momentum and conservation of KE - two unknowns - velocity of pin and ball after collision)

    The momentum is fairly easy to calculate and momentum is related to force by F=dp/dt. However, unless you know the duration of the contact of the ball with the pin it is impossible to translate that into a force. That duration would be very difficult to measure.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2007
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