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Snooker/billiard/Newton's balls

  1. Jan 1, 2012 #1
    Hi guys,

    I just joined so I could ask a question on something about which I've been curious for quite a while.

    Imagine a shot in snooker whereby the white ball hits a red, and that red was already touching another red. The result of the shot is that that second red gets fired away like a ball on a Newton's cradle.

    Now you can put more balls into the shot and, provided they're all stuck together, the ball at the end of the line will be fired away like the end ball in a Newton's cradle.

    My question is quite an open one. Given a big enough billiard table and enough balls, I could, I assume, make a line of, say, 100 balls and get the same effect. 1000 balls, even? A million balls? The main part of my question I'm interested in is this: How fast does the energy pass through the balls?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2012 #2


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    Forces are transmitted through the balls at the speed of sound in the balls. There is also a stiffness factor (how much the balls deform versus compressive force), that determines the duration of the collisions. Link to a web page with info on Newton's cradle:

  4. Jan 1, 2012 #3
    Thanks so much. :) I appreciate it.
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