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Physics of Vibrations *

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.


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.)

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Science Buddies Staff. "Physics of Vibrations" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 30 June 2014. Web. 21 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Sports_p033.shtml>

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Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 30). Physics of Vibrations. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Sports_p033.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-06-30


  • 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.

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