How Can You Model a Realistic Bouncing Ball Using Springs

Photo:Rhett Allain. Two bouncing balls and one dog.

Take a ball and drop it on the ground. Yes, it will bounce back up. However, it doesn’t return quite to its starting height — it never does. Even a “super bounce” ball doesn’t return to its starting height. Why? Well, one way to think of this is that the ball starts with some gravitational potential energy that is converted to kinetic energy as it falls. When it collides with the ground…