Table of Waves and Sound Demonstration List of Mechanics Equipment & Supplies Lecture Demonstrations

# Anharmonic Ping Pong Ball, 3A95.40

Topic and Concept:

Location:

Abstract:

A ping pong ball is dropped and then bounces anharmonically.

 Equipment Location ID Number Ping Pong Balls ME, Bay A13, Shelf #3

Important Setup Notes:

• N/A

Setup and Procedure:

1. Drop the ping pong ball from some height onto a table, and observe the decay in round-trip time.

Cautions, Warnings, or Safety Concerns:

• N/A

Discussion:

Let's define an oscillation of this system as the drop from maximum height, a bounce, and a return of the ping pong ball to a new maximum height. The acceleration of the ping pong ball is nearly always constant with the exception of the time spent in contact with the tabletop. We notice that, with each oscillation, the maximum height the ball reaches decreases monotonically with time. This is because energy is dissipated with each collision of the ball with the table. Thus, the oscillatory nature of this system cannot be described with a single frequency of oscillation. This is what makes this system anharmonic.

Videos:

References: