Stroboscopic Photograph of a Bouncing Ball

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Stroboscopic photography is a technique to study a moving object (commonly a bouncing ball) that shows its position at equal time intervals using a flashing strobe light and a camera with an open shutter. The relation between the maximum distance fallen and the distance traveled in the latest time interval is observed.


At the top of each bounce, the energy is potential, and at the bottom, it is kinetic, so this experiment shows their interplay. Every bounce has less height because a fraction of the mechanical energy is conserved and the rest is converted to heat.


Contributed by: Enrique Zeleny (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



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