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2012

Projectile Motion
Of a tennis ball

Varoun Hanooman
Upper 6
4/5/2012
Topic:
To investigate whether the motion of a lawn tennis ball follows a parabolic motion in two dimensions
and to determine a suitable critical path for the making of “The Launching Apparatus” needed to be
done prior to the projectile motion test.

Statement of Task:
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players (singles) or between two teams of two players
each (doubles). Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt
over a net into the opponent's court. To accurately place the ball to the other side of the court, one needs
to know the motion of the ball. If the ball moves in a parabolic motion, it is easier to hit the ball onto the
other side with proper placement of the ball.

The research aims to determine the critical path, which was undertaken in the making of “The
Launching Apparatus” used to shoot the tennis ball.

Additionally, the study aims to investigate whether the motion of a tennis ball, in two dimensions,
follows parabolic motion using kinematics and the equation of trajectory.

X is used for the distance horizontally

Y is used for the height

𝜃 is used for angle of launch

v is used for final velocity

u is used for initial velocity

g is used for gravity

t is used for time


Method Of Data Collection:

Data Collected for the Determination of the Critical Path:

The data was collected on the 3 rd of March, 2012. The apparatus was constructed by carrying out
various activities and the time taken for each activity was recorded using a stopwatch and rounded off
to the nearest 5 minutes in each case.

Data Collected for Projectile motion:

In this study a set of recorded video images were used to calculate the position and speed of the
tennis ball’s motion.

The lawn tennis ball was placed into “The Launching Apparatus” and was recorded using the
video camera. The tension on the spring mechanism inside “The Launching Apparatus” was released by
removing a metal rod. The spring made contact with the ball at an angel of 30°.The trajectory of the
tennis ball was recorded with the video camera.

The camera takes 30 images (frames) per second, so the time between images is roughly 0.033
seconds. These images were captured on a camera and were available for analysis. The software called
“Videopoint” was used since it allows one to select a particular frame and measure the position of the
ball in that frame. The video was opened on the program. The frame being viewed was moved to the
first frame which corresponds to the moment when the ball leaves the launcher and becomes visible.
There was a table created containing the number images, the time associated with each image and x
and y coordinates. The ball was clicked on each frame to store the x and y coordinates relative to the
first frame. The coordinates were measured in units of pixels. These units are converted by using a
known distance in the background, 1 meter.
Representation of Findings:
The building of “The Launching Apparatus” was timed to find the critical path analysis of the study. The
activities were then analysed and the following activity table was then constructed:

Figure 1 below, shows the list of the activities and their durations.

Activities Preceding Activities Duration (in minutes)

A Designing - 60

B Sourcing spring A 120

C Sourcing tin can housing A 50

D Sourcing wood A 20

E Sourcing hinge, screws, handle, A 30


bolt, clamps, metal rod

F Sourcing tools A,B,C 30

G Cutting springs B,F 10

H Cutting housing C,F 5

I Cutting wood D,F 15

J Assembly E,F,G,H,I 60

K Testing j 10
Figure 2 below shows a table comparing frames, time, x position, y position obtained in experiment

Frame Time[s] X position[m] Y position[m]


1 0 0 0
2 0.0095 0.0454 0.0258
3 0.0429 0.2052 0.1098
4 0.0763 0.3650 0.1827
5 0.1097 0.5248 0.2440
6 0.1431 0.6850 0.2946
7 0.1765 0.8443 0.3349
8 0.2099 1.0037 0.3637
9 0.2433 1.1635 0.3814
10 0.2767 1.3230 0.3890
11 0.3101 1.4829 0.3848
12 0.3435 1.6427 0.3696
13 0.3769 1.8023 0.3440
14 0.4103 1.9618 0.3069
15 0.4437 2.1215 0.2595
16 0.4771 2.2809 0.2007
17 0.5105 2.4412 0.1311
18 0.5439 2.6006 0.0500
19 0.5773 2.7600 -0.0414
20 0.6107 2.9199 -0.1438

Figure 3 represent Y position(m) vs X position(m)

0.5

0.4

0.3
Y position[m]

0.2

0.1

0
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5
-0.1

-0.2
X position[m]
Figure 4 represents Y position(m) vs time(s)

0.5

0.4

0.3
Y position[m]

0.2

0.1

0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7
-0.1

-0.2
Time [s]

Figure 5 represents X position(m) vs time(s)

3.5

2.5
X position[m]

1.5

0.5

0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7
Time [s]
Mathematical Analysis:

Critical Path Analysis

To determine the critical path that should has been taken to complete the construction of “The
Launching Apparatus”, an activity network was constructed using the information from Figure 1. An
algorithm was made for constructed the activity network.

Start:

Write down the original vertices then second copy of them alongside. If activity B must be preceded by
A, draw an arc from the original vertex B to the copy vertex A.

Step 1:

Make a list of all the original vertices which have no arcs incident to them.

Step 2:

Delete all the vertices for step 1 and their corresponding shadow vertices and all arcs incident to these
vertices.

Step3:

Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all vertices have been used.

The precedence relations are

A must follow -

B must follow A

C must follow A

D must follow A

E must follow A

F must follow A, B, C

G must follow B, F

H must follow C, F

I must follow D, F

J must follow E, F, G, H, I
K must follow J

These relations are illustrated below. The algorithm was applied until all vertices have been chosen.

1. A A
B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
k K

Delete: A

2. B B
C C
D D
E E
F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K

Delete: B, C, D, E

3. F F
G G
H H
I I
J J
K K

Delete: F

4. G G
H H
I I
J J
K K
Delete: G, H, I
5. J J
K K

Delete: J

6. K K
Delete: K

So the activities have been chosen in the following order:

B
G
C
A F H j k
D
I
E
The activity network was then constructed with the duration of the activity indicated on any
leaving the vertex representing the activity.

G 10
B 120
210 215
60 60
J 60
F 30
H 5
180 180 225 225
30 210 220
C 50 30 K 10
Start
60 130 I 15 285 285

210 210
A 60
D 20
0 0
60 190 Finish

285 285
E 30

60 180

Key

Activity Label Activity Duration

Earliest Start Time Latest Start Time

Figure 6 above shows the activities on a node diagram for the building of “The Launching
Apparatus”

The earliest possible start time (ES) for each activity was found by going forward through the
network. The latest possible start time (LS) for each activity was found by going backwards
through the network. These times were determined and shown in the network above. The
values were tabulated and the float times were calculated, using the formula below, and
included in the table
Float time = Latest start time – Earliest start time
Earliest Starting Latest Start Float
Activity Time Time Time

A 0 0 0

B 60 60 0

C 60 130 70

D 60 190 130

E 60 180 120

F 180 180 0

G 210 215 5

H 210 220 10

I 210 210 0

J 225 225 0

K 285 285 0

Figure 7 above, Earliest and Latest start time for the activities

After analyzing the table the following critical path was obtained.

START A B F I J K FINISH

The building of “The Launching Apparatus” should have taken a minimum time of 4.75 hrs or
285 minutes.
Projectile motion

𝒈𝒙𝟐
Equation of trajectory: 𝒚 = 𝒙 𝐭𝐚𝐧 𝜽 −
𝟐𝑽𝟐 (𝐜𝐨𝐬 𝜽)𝟐

Velocity: using the equation: v = u + at , where v is final velocity, u is initial velocity, a is acceleration
and t is time for half flight

Time of flight, (from figure 4) when y≈0, t= 0.5439s

Therefore, time for half of flight=0.5439÷2

=0.27195s

This should be the time the ball is at its highest point.

Subbing the time for half the flight, g=-9.81, into the equation above

v = u + at

Using the vertical component:

V=0

Therefore

0 = u(sin30) + (-9.81)(0.27195)

-u=-5.534𝒎𝒔−𝟏

u = 5.534𝒎𝒔−𝟏

𝟗.𝟖𝟏𝒙𝟐
Hence equation of trajectory is: 𝒚 = 𝒙(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) − 𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐(𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

By substituting know x-coordinates into the equation of trajectory, theoretical y-coordinates can be
found.

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟎.𝟎𝟒𝟓𝟒)𝟐
When x=0.0454, 𝒚 = (𝟎. 𝟎𝟒𝟓𝟒)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) − 𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐(𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.0258
𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟎.𝟐𝟎𝟓𝟐)𝟐
When x=0.2052, 𝒚 = (𝟎. 𝟐𝟎𝟓𝟐)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) − 𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐(𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.1092

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟎.𝟑𝟔𝟓𝟎)𝟐
When x=0.3650, 𝒚 = (𝟎. 𝟑𝟔𝟓𝟎)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) − 𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐(𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.1826

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟎.𝟓𝟐𝟒𝟖)𝟐
When x=0.5248, 𝒚 = (𝟎. 𝟓𝟐𝟒𝟖)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) −
𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐 (𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.2445

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟎.𝟔𝟖𝟓𝟎)𝟐
When x=0.6850, 𝒚 = (𝟎. 𝟔𝟖𝟓𝟎)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) −
𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐 (𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.2955

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟎.𝟖𝟒𝟒𝟑)𝟐
When x=0.8443, 𝒚 = (𝟎. 𝟖𝟒𝟒𝟑)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) −
𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐 (𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.3355

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟏.𝟎𝟎𝟑𝟕)𝟐
When x=1.0037, 𝒚 = (𝟏. 𝟎𝟎𝟑𝟕)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) − 𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐(𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.3647

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟏.𝟏𝟔𝟑𝟓)𝟐
When x=1.1635, 𝒚 = (𝟏. 𝟏𝟔𝟑𝟓)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) −
𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐 (𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.3828

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟏.𝟑𝟐𝟑𝟎)𝟐
When x=1.3230, 𝒚 = (𝟏. 𝟑𝟐𝟑𝟎)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) − 𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐(𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.3900

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟏.𝟒𝟖𝟐𝟗)𝟐
When x=1.4829, 𝒚 = (𝟏. 𝟒𝟖𝟐𝟗)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) −
𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐 (𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.3863

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟏.𝟔𝟒𝟐𝟕)𝟐
When x=1.6427, 𝒚 = (𝟏. 𝟔𝟒𝟐𝟕)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) − 𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐(𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.3717

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟏.𝟖𝟎𝟐𝟑)𝟐
When x=1.8023, 𝒚 = (𝟏. 𝟖𝟎𝟐𝟑)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) −
𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐 (𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐
Y =0.3460

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟏.𝟗𝟔𝟏𝟖)𝟐
When x=1.9618, 𝒚 = (𝟏. 𝟗𝟔𝟏𝟖)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) − 𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐(𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.3095

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟐.𝟏𝟐𝟏𝟓)𝟐
When x=2.1215, 𝒚 = (𝟐. 𝟏𝟐𝟏𝟓)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) − 𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐(𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.2620

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟐.𝟐𝟖𝟎𝟗)𝟐
When x=2.2809, 𝒚 = (𝟐. 𝟐𝟖𝟎𝟗)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) −
𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐 (𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.2036

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟐.𝟒𝟒𝟏𝟐)𝟐
When x=2.4412, 𝒚 = (𝟐. 𝟒𝟒𝟏𝟐)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) − 𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐(𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.1342

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟐.𝟔𝟎𝟎𝟔)𝟐
When x=2.6006, 𝒚 = (𝟐. 𝟔𝟎𝟎𝟔)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) −
𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐 (𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =0.0539

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟐.𝟕𝟔𝟎𝟎)𝟐
When x=2.7600, 𝒚 = (𝟐. 𝟕𝟔𝟎𝟎)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) − 𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐(𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =-0.0374

𝟗.𝟖𝟏(𝟐.𝟗𝟏𝟗𝟗)𝟐
When x=2.9199, 𝒚 = (𝟐. 𝟗𝟏𝟗𝟗)(𝒕𝒂𝒏𝟑𝟎) −
𝟐(𝟓.𝟓𝟑)𝟐 (𝒄𝒐𝒔𝟑𝟎)𝟐

Y =-0.1396
Figure 8 contains the theoretical y-coordinates obtained from the equation of trajectory against actual
y postion

X position[m] Theoretical Y position[m] Actual Y position[m]


0 0 0
0.0454 0.0258 0.0258
0.2052 0.1097 0.1098
0.3650 0.1826 0.1827
0.5248 0.2445 0.2440
0.6850 0.2955 0.2946
0.8443 0.3355 0.3349
1.0037 0.3647 0.3637
1.1635 0.3828 0.3814
1.3230 0.3900 0.3890
1.4829 0.3863 0.3848
1.6427 0.3717 0.3696
1.8023 0.3460 0.3440
1.9618 0.3095 0.3069
2.1215 0.2620 0.2595
2.2809 0.2036 0.2007
2.4412 0.1342 0.1311
2.6006 0.0539 0.0500
2.7600 -0.0374 -0.0414
2.9199 -0.1396 -0.1438
Discussion of findings:

In the study, an activity table was constructed and each task was designated with a particular letter.
Subsequent to this, a network algorithm was created and followed to establish the order of the activities.
From this, a network diagram was then formed which illustrates which activities were needed to be
completed before others began.

From the network diagram, it was essential to find the earliest start time and latest start time for
each activity in order to find which tasks may be done simultaneously. In doing so, it enables one to
accomplish all the tasks in as short as time as possible. It should be noted that the time taken for an
activity was approximated to the nearest 5 minutes for simplification purposes and this approximation is
justified as the duration of the activities, if more or less than a 5 minutes.

The critical path for the activities, in order, was found to be START A B F I J K FINISH and the
completion time for this critical path was determined to be 285 minutes. This time is the minimum time
that someone will need to make a launching apparatus.

In order to deduce whether the motion of the lawn tennis ball followed parabolic motion was
true, the actual motion of the ball was recorded and analysed. The equation of trajectory was then
needed to be found. With the equation of trajectory, known horizontal distances (x) were used to find
theoretical vertical distances (y). The actual y-positions are compared to the theoretical y-positions.

By close observation of these two columns, it is noted that both valued are very close. Since the
theoretical values are so close to the actual values, it proves that the motion of a lawn tennis ball
follows parabolic motion. The slight differences in values are caused by certain limitations.
Limitations

During this experiment, some limitations were encountered and hence accuracy of the
investigation conducted was compromised. This includes air resistance, which opposes the
motion of the ball in mid air. This was reduced by carrying out the experiment indoors to
reduce high air resistance such as wind. In addition another inaccuracy is if when the spring
made contact with the ball, it created the ball to spin and have little motion in the z axis. This is
assumed to be negligible. Also the weight of the ball can change slightly as the fur and the ball
can fall off while in mid air. This limitation may be closer to negligible. Also exact times were
not used hence accuracy in time may be low.

Conclusion

The minimum time needed to build a launching apparatus was determined to be 285 minutes
where the critical path analysis is designing, sourcing spring, sourcing tools, cutting wood,
assembly and testing.

The motion of a lawn tennis ball is proven to follow a parabolic motion in two dimensions .
Appendix

Picture 1 below show the assembled launching apparatus