Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Physics of Bowling

While going through my email I saw a message from a bowling ball website and when I
thought about it I realized that a lot of things in bowling can be explained through physics. I did
some research and found a website that explains in great detail the many different physics
properties that go into bowling.


The physics in bowling starts with the actual ball itself. There are two different types of weight blocks
in the balls, a symmetrical block and an asymmetrical block. The symmetrical block is even on all sides and so if thrown normally the ball will roll straight. The asymmetrical block has an uneven weight ratio so when thrown normally the ball will curve one direction depending on the weight distribution of the block. Friction and potential energy are also important in bowling. When a bowler throws a curve ball the ball slides down the oil on the lane gaining potential energy the entire time. When the ball hits a point on the lane where there is little oil the surface of the ball has friction in the lane and this causes the ball to change direction. When the ball hits the pins all the potential energy stored in the ball is distributed to the pins causing them to fly in every direction. Different bowlers roll the ball in different ways by using balls with different surfaces as well as differing their approaches and the way they rotate their hands around the ball upon release.


Using their knowledge about bowling, which is instinctively due to physics bowlers are able to create trick shots such as the flying eagle.


Patrick Ligons

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