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Do Different Air Pressures Affect How Far a Ball Can Go?

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Haley West

on 28 April 2015

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Transcript of Do Different Air Pressures Affect How Far a Ball Can Go?

1) First off, we will need to gather our materials and go to a big park/wide open space.
2) We will have three different "air pressures" set for the soccer ball. The normal pressure is 6-8 psi. So, we experimented at 4 psi, 6 psi, and 8 psi
3) Deflate/inflate the ball to the desired air pressure and apply a constant force to it.
4) Measure the distance it travels
5) Repeat steps 1-4 10 times for each of the three "air pressures" so we can try and get reliable data.
Air pressure is the weight of the atmosphere pressing down on the Earth. In sports, however, it is the random act of air molecules inside a ball that creates a force of impact that keeps the ball firmly inflated. Air pressure can also change depending on the temperature.
Some examples of air pressure in the real world:
Our hypothesis for this experiment is that we think that the greater the air pressure in a ball, the farther it will travel when force is applied. Throughout this experiment, we will learn about air pressure, compression/expansion of air molecules, and many other concepts.
soccer ball
ball pump
ball pressure gauge
tape measure or yardstick
inflation needle
What is Air Pressure?
Does the Amount of Air Pressure in a Soccer Ball Affect How Far it Travels When Force is Applied?
4 psi of pressure
Izzy Haley
132 feet
128 feet
134 feet
130 feet
125 feet
124 feet
135 feet
121 feet
133 feet
128 feet
6 psi of pressure
Izzy Haley
168 feet
173 feet
163 feet
165 feet
175 feet
172 feet
169 feet
165 feet
176 feet
166 feet
8 psi of pressure
Izzy Haley
209 feet
192 feet
197 feet
203 feet
194 feet
196 feet
183 feet
192 feet
189 feet
190 feet
Izzy's Data for 8 psi
Haley's Data for 8 psi
Izzy's Data for 6 psi
Haley's Data for 6 psi
Haley's Data for 4 psi
Izzy's Data for 4 psi
How does air pressure affect us?
How do all of these concepts tie into this experiment?
Air pressure in the cabin of an airplane
Air pumped into sports balls. Ex: Soccer ball, basketball, volleyball, ect.
Inflating tires
Sipping out of a straw
Using a hose
The pressure in the Earth's atmosphere
Air pressure affects us humans in many different ways. First, there is a certain amount of air sitting above your body in the Earth's atmosphere. The more air above your body, the more pressure there is on your body. The less air above your body, the less pressure on you. Higher altitudes have less air pressure and because of that, there is less air molecules present which causes you to breathe more deeply and more often. Your heart will pump more blood to increase the amount of oxygen in your brain and muscles.
From completing this experiment, we discovered that our hypothesis was correct. When there was a greater air pressure inside the soccer ball, it traveled further when force was applied. This is because of concepts like air pressure, gravitational pull, friction, and altitude. When the ball had more compressed air molecules inside of it, it had more potential energy. So, when the force was applied to the ball, it was able to travel at a greater distance. The same thing goes for the expanded air molecules. The less air molecules in the ball, the less it traveled when force was applied because there was less potential energy.
"Atmospheric air pressure affects the distance the ball travels when kicked, Rigsby states. The lower the pressure, the less friction. A ball kicked at altitude in Mexico City, for example, travels further than a ball kicked at sea level in Miami Beach. This is the same principal that leads to so many home runs being hit at the Colorado Rockies' home, Coors Field, a mile above sea level, as a baseball also travels with less friction at altitude.
The higher the air pressure inside the soccer ball, the farther it will go when it is kicked, writes engineer and soccer ball enthusiast Bruce Rigsby on the site Soccer Ball World.com. Your kick transfers more energy to a stiff ball, compared to a spongy one, as less of the energy is lost to deformation of the ball's surface. Thus, the extent of air pressure in the ball affects how far it sails off your foot. The same concept applies with other inflated sports equipment: A basketball bounces lower if not inflated properly, and a bicycle tire contacts more of the road if underinflated, reducing performance" (Parish 1).
"How Does the Air Pressure of a Soccer Ball Affect the Distance It Goes When Kicked?" LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 31 Mar. 2011. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
"Soccer Physics: Does the Amount of Air Inside the Ball Affect How Far It Goes?" Soccer Science Fair Project: Air Pressure & Distance. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2015
Works Cited
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