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Homework Help: The speed of a Bowling Ball

  1. Sep 10, 2008 #1
    A ball travelling with constant speed hits the pins placed at the end of the bowling lane 16.5 metres long. The bowler heard the sound of the ball hitting the pins 2.50s after the ball was released from his hands. What was the speed of the ball? The speed of sound is 340 m/s.

    i know the basic idea of the question, but how do you incorporate the speed of sound into it? You are looking for vf.

    vi = 0, vf = ? d = 16.5 t = 2.50 s a = ?

    Any help would be appreciated, as i have no idea where to start
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2008 #2


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    Write an expression for t1, the time taken for the ball to hit the pins in terms of the ball speed, and another one for t2 the time taken for sound waves to travel from the pins to the person using distance and speed of sound. Then t1 + t2 = 2.5 . From here you can solve fo speed of ball.
  4. Sep 10, 2008 #3
    thank you for the help, it helped a lot :smile:
  5. Dec 17, 2008 #4
    Personally, I think the question is pointless. A real bowling alley is 60 feet (18.3 meters) from foul line to the center of the head pin. A lane that is only 16.5 meters long does not conform to USA Bowling specs. BTW - I can toss a ball 28+ mph. If I really try, I can hit 30.
  6. Dec 17, 2008 #5


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    I fail to see what the last post has got to do with anything at all. Clearly you're not going to object to a physics teacher in an exam that the values in the question do not appear realistic!
  7. Dec 18, 2008 #6
    Other than learning to churn numbers, what is the point of doing exercises with unrealistic values? Practice with real world values. Too many mistakes are made by not recognizing bad data.

    Besides, I was only here to investigate what might be some realistic values for bowling ball velocities. A physics forum is a bad place to investigate realistic possibilities?
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