Home Store Project Ideas Project Guide Ask An Expert Blog Careers Teachers Parents Students

Physics of Vibrations *

Difficulty
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.

Abstract

Tennis racquets, baseball bats and golf clubs all vibrate when they hit the ball. You can often feel it in your hands, particularly if you "mis-hit" the ball. You can find the point(s) on your racquet, bat or club—called the "sweet spot"—that minimize unwanted vibrations. Low-tech method: hang the racquet or bat straight up and down with a string from its handle. Lightly hold the handle with your thumb and forefinger and have a helper sharply tap the bat, strings or club face with a ball at regular increments along the length. You'll feel a minimum in the vibration at the "sweet spot" of the bat, racquet or club. High-tech method: loosely tape a card to the handle so that it will vibrate when the racquet, bat or club is tapped (Brody, 1987, 33). If you want to go all out, you can measure the vibration of the card by monitoring light reflecting off the card with a photodiode and analog-to-digital converter. Several projects possible: longest hit from where? best accuracy from where? comparing different racquets for comfort? (Both Brody et al., 2002, and Brody, 1987, have extensive sections on the vibration of racquets; Barr, 1990, 37-39, has a short treatment of vibration in baseball bats.)

Cite This Page

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Physics of Vibrations" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 30 June 2014. Web. 24 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Sports_p033.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 30). Physics of Vibrations. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Sports_p033.shtml

Share your story with Science Buddies!

I did this project I Did This Project! Please log in and let us know how things went.


Last edit date: 2014-06-30

Bibliography

  • Barr, G., 1990. Sports Science for Young People. New York, NY: Dover Publications.
  • Brody, H., 1987. Tennis Science for Tennis Players. Philadelphia, PA: The University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Brody, H. et al., 2002 The Physics and Technology of Tennis. Solana Beach, CA: Racquet Tech Publishing.

Share your story with Science Buddies!

I did this project I Did This Project! Please log in and let us know how things went.

Ask an Expert

The Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.

Ask an Expert

Related Links

If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:

female commercial designer preparing prototype

Commercial & Industrial Designer

Have you always loved art? Do you have a good eye for beauty, balance, and form? How would you like to see your designs show up in toy stores? Or in a sporting goods store? Or at a car dealer? Commercial and industrial designers create the shape and form of every type of manufactured good that you can think of—from toys, sporting goods, and medical equipment to high technology products, furniture, toothbrushes, and toasters. They design the form of new products that are as beautiful and pleasing to look at as they are functional. Read more
Female physicist working

Physicist

Physicists have a big goal in mind—to understand the nature of the entire universe and everything in it! To reach that goal, they observe and measure natural events seen on Earth and in the universe, and then develop theories, using mathematics, to explain why those phenomena occur. Physicists take on the challenge of explaining events that happen on the grandest scale imaginable to those that happen at the level of the smallest atomic particles. Their theories are then applied to human-scale projects to bring people new technologies, like computers, lasers, and fusion energy. Read more
electrical engineer aligning laser

Electrical & Electronics Engineer

Just as a potter forms clay, or a steel worker molds molten steel, electrical and electronics engineers gather and shape electricity and use it to make products that transmit power or transmit information. Electrical and electronics engineers may specialize in one of the millions of products that make or use electricity, like cell phones, electric motors, microwaves, medical instruments, airline navigation system, or handheld games. Read more

Looking for more science fun?

Try one of our science activities for quick, anytime science explorations. The perfect thing to liven up a rainy day, school vacation, or moment of boredom.

Find an Activity