UCSB Science Line
 How will the type of rubber band ball affects the bounce height? Question Date: 2013-02-28 Answer 1:The height a rubber band ball (or any other ball) bounces has to do with the elasticity of the collision between the ball and the floor. In an elastic collision, kinetic energy and momentum are conserved. In an inelastic collision, kinetic energy is not conserved. Energy can be lost to friction, sound, and heat. When you drop a ball from a stationary position, it starts with all potential energy. As it falls, it gains speed and kinetic energy, but it still has the same amount of total energy. When it hits the floor in an inelastic collision, it loses some of its kinetic energy. As it bounces back upward, it exchanges its kinetic energy for potential energy, but it does not bounce as high as before because overall, it has less energy. energy picture, click here A collision between the rubber band ball and floor will never be perfectly elastic (ideal). The closer a collision is to being perfectly elastic, the higher the ball will bounce. So what makes the rubber band ball more ideal? The less energy that is during the collision, the more kinetic energy will remain. The most important factor is how tightly the rubber bands are wound onto the ball. If they are too loose, they will absorb more energy. Another factor that matters is the type of rubber the rubber band is made out of; different types of rubber have different elasticity. You can test which kind works best by conducting an experiment. References: http://hyperphysics.phy- astr.gsu.edu/hbase/elacol.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inelastic_collision Click Here to return to the search form.