Parabolas are everywhere The Bouncing Ball

Parabolasare everywhere: The Bouncing Ball


Parabolasare everywhere: The Bouncing Ball

Manyconditions and processes in nature portray the parabola effect.Galileo showed that the path followed by a ball when thrown intospace was parabolic.The bouncing ball loses energy as it hitsthe ground.This affects its frequency, and the subsequent amplitudes will alsodecrease forming a series of diminishing parabolas(Kavanagh,2012).The ball stops at the top and accelerates downwards due to the forceof gravity.

Throwingthe ball perpendicularly with an original velocity of v0with time t0makes it rise, slow down due to gravity and finally, reach thehighest distance from the ground hi.It will reverse its direction, fall towards the ground and strike itat time t1.The inelastic collision with the ground makes it lose energy, bounceat velocity v2andclimbtoheighth2,whichis half of h1.Attime t2,the second bounce will occur, the ball will further lose energy andonly climb to height h3,whichis half ofh2(Kavanagh,2012).Itwill continue to bounce and lose half of its kinetic energy in eachof the bounces.

Thetime between the bounces will decrease as the bouncing continues. Theup and down movement of the ball forms a parabolic motion, whichcontinues to diminish as time progresses. The ball has a positivevelocity during the upward movements, zero while at the top, andnegative during the downwards movement(Kavanagh,2012).Acceleration explains the change in velocity in every second. Duringthe bounce, the acceleration is usually constant.

Inconclusion, the parabola effect exists in real world situations likein the bouncing of a ball on the ground. The ball will rise and fallin a diminishing state to form many parabolas.


Kavanagh,B. (2012). Surveying.Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.