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Physics Of Bowling Essay

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Physics Of Bowling


The one thing that interests me is bowling. I have been playing all my life and after a whole semester and a half of being in Mr. Fetter’s class, I realized that everything has physics in it. One night after going bowling with my girlfriend(s) I wondered why when I hit the first pin, only seven went down and thus I lost the game. So, I got on the Internet and found a lot of articles and web sites talking about the physics of bowling. A lot of the web sites were brief descriptions. A guy named Paul Durbin wrote many articles on physics. One of his articles he discussed was about bowling. He mentioned one thing we already went over this semester in physics class. But it seems to me that he neglected to mention other forces the play a big role in bowling and the physics behind it.
     Durbin said “In order to accelerate, you need a net force. As soon as I let go of the bowling ball, it’s accelerating. As soon as your fingers are out of the holes, the ball is at its highest point of acceleration (p.2).” According to the author, gravity is the net force acting upon an object, which means it is accelerating. The swinging of my arm (back the forward) being the net force. When my fingers leave the hole, it’s accelerating. Now, how fast it goes is determined on how fast you swing your arm and let go. Now that’s all Durbin basically said on bowling. But I realized that Newton’s Laws, momentum, kinetic and potential energy all have their role in bowling too.

Durbin was correct when he explained acceleration. Let me tell you a little something on acceleration. Acceleration is the rate at which the velocity is changing. Because acceleration is a rate, it is measured of how fast the velocity is changing with respect to time of course. The key idea that defines acceleration is change. Whenever we change our state of motion, we are accelerating. A bowling ball that can accelerate fast has the ability to change its velocity pretty fast. A bowling ball that can go from zero to 5 mph in .5 seconds has a greater acceleration than another ball let go by another player that can go from zero to 7 mph in 1 second. (We learned about this in class). So having a high acceleration is being quick to change and not always fast. Acceleration applies to changes in direction as well as changes in speed. When you let go of the bowling ball at a constant speed o...


... middle of paper ...


...t the total amount of energy never changes. Let’s assume that the cue ball has 10J of PE. As it’s hit, PE is at its highest (10J). When the ball is going down the alley, the sum of the ball’s PE and KE remains constant at successive positions ¼, ½, ¾, and all the way down. (This I also read ahead and found in the book). As soon as the ball has reached its highest point, PE and KE are equal (5J), and on the way down KE increases as PE decreases. When the ball lands, KE is 10J and PE is 0.

Law of Conservation of Momentum:
     In the absence of an external force, the momentum of a system remains unchanged.
When you hit the cue ball, you have a natural follow through. When you apply that torque (extending the elbow), your momentum changes. You can see that if no net force or impulse acts on a system, then the momentum of that system cannot change.

     Some of things mentioned, are things we know that happen, but we don't know why, and usually never wonder why, but for all things, there are explanations, which some of the secrets of mother nature were revealed here. Just remember that there are physics behind whatever you do or see including bowling with your girlfriend(s).


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