Multiple Reflections of a Superball

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This Demonstration shows the path of a multiply reflected superball in a horizontal channel (ignoring gravity). At each reflection, the energy and the angular momentum of the ball are conserved, but due to friction, translational and rotational energy can be converted into each other. The initial position of the ball is the red point and the final position is the blue point


The graphic is scaled so that all reflections are shown and angles are not distorted.


Contributed by: Michael Trott with permission of Springer (March 2011)
From: The Mathematica Guidebook for Graphics, second edition by Michael Trott (© Springer, 2008).
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The moment of inertia of the ball is assumed to be variable. The initial value is the one for a solid ball. Balls with a radius‐dependent mass density will have other moments of inertia.

More information on this topic can be found in J. M. Tavares, "The Elastic Bounces of a Sphere between Two Parallel Walls," Am. J. Phys., 75(8), 2007 pp. 690-695.

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