Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Zach and Chris did a "quick lab" (conceived, executed, analyzed, and presented during a single class period) this week on the forces exerted on the basketball as Chris shoots a (perfect) shot.

In their own words:
The Question - "How much force (friction) is used to spin the basketball compared to the normal force used to propel it? "

The Design - "We recorded Chris taking a shot just short of the free throw line.  We analyzed the video on Logger Pro to determine the initial velocity and the acceleration of the ball.  We also were able to determine the angular velocity and acceleration of the ball. "

The Physics - "We used the known information to calculate the normal force on the ball from Chris's hand, and also the frictional force used to spin the ball."

The Whiteboard:

The Takeaway - "About 20% of the total force used to shoot the ball was used to spin it, and Chris's jumper is silky smooth."

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