Weird Science with Dr. V: Bounce vs. No Bounce

Weird Science with Dr. V: Bounce vs. No Bounce

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- It is the best time of the week when local science guru, and all-around nice guy, Dr. V from Oceanit Hawaii join's Taizo for some science and fun! This week, using a bouncing ball, we study how different materials react to contact.

Dr. V Show: Bounce vs. No Bounce

July 20, 2010

Things you need:

  • Bounce and no bounce balls

The experiment

Please perform this and all experiments under the supervision and with the assistance of an adult. You will need to purchase a set of bounce and no-bounce balls. Sometimes they are called "happy" and "unhappy" balls.  Take a look at both balls and roll them around in your hand. What do you notice about them? How are they similar? How are they different? Now try bouncing each one.  What happens?

How does it work?

Even though they look and feel the same, one bounces and one doesn't. The difference is what material the balls are made of. The one that bounces is made out of natural rubber which is very elastic, and bouncy. It changes the kinetic energy of the ball falling into potential energy, by bouncing the ball up.  Natural rubber is made from latex sap collected from certain tree. Natural rubber is used to make many different things, including rubber bands, pencil erasers, and balloons.  The ball that doesn't bounce is made of a special kind of rubber, called butyl rubber.  Butyl rubber is synthetic, or manmade, rubber that absorbs the kinetic energy from the ball falling. Butyl rubber used in athletic shoes can help absorb the impact of your feet as they hit the ground. It can also make things very airtight when the insides are lined with butyl rubber, like basketballs, footballs and soccer balls. You may even find some chewing gum that includes food-grade butyl rubber to keep you chewing!