How much height does a bouncing ball lose after its first bounce?

1. Sep 26, 2008

petwoip

On earth, if I drop a ball from a building height 100m, what will be the maximum height of the ball after its first bounce? Note: This is not a homework question, I am trying to design a game and I want it to be as accurate as possible.

2. Sep 26, 2008

Nabeshin

Depends on the material of the ball and the surface you're dropping it on.

3. Sep 27, 2008

rcgldr

Also depends on aerodynamic drag.

4. Sep 27, 2008

Topher925

Given the information you have provided(none) who is to say that the ball will even bounce?

5. Sep 27, 2008

Staff: Mentor

Just to provide the true range - the answer could literally be anything between zero and 99+m.

6. Sep 27, 2008

If the ball has perfect elasticity (theoretical), the ground is perfectly solid, and there is no atmosphere, it will bounce forever back to the same height, correct me if I am wrong.

In reality of course these conditions can never occur and the answer depends on the degree of the above-mentioned factors.

7. Sep 27, 2008

Nabeshin

Consider what you know of real world materials and interaction, because I did a brief search attempting to find a table (similar to friction tables?) of relative elasticity values but didn't find anything.

If it's something like a golf ball on concrete, maybe give it 50-60m?
A solid, rubber ball (lacrosse) maybe 70 or so?
A volleyball, maybe 10-20m?

As long as you have a general idea of what the two surfaces are, you should be able to come up with a reasonable estimate that won't look too outrageous. Just test it out and see if it looks normal to you. Humans have a pretty good ability to recognize when something "shouldn't be happening".

8. Sep 27, 2008

mgb_phys

For official tennis balls dropped form 100" they must bounce between 53-58"

I once built a computer vision rig to allow a company to check them.
They take samples from the production line for normal bals, but those for competitions are all checked individually.

9. Sep 28, 2008

petwoip

Thanks for all the messages. I never realized all the different factors that could affect bounce height. I think I'll stick with the tennis ball - style bounce, because that would look the best.

10. Sep 28, 2008

mgb_phys

Remember that on subseqent bounces the ball losses the same proportion of it's height. So if a tennis ball bounces form 100" back to 50" on the first bounce (50%) it will bounce to 25" on the next, 12.5" on the next and so on.