Bouncing Egg

There is a classic experiment in which you drop a tennis ball on top of a basketball.

The tennis ball goes rocketing off after it collides with the basketball bouncing off the floor. See my magazine article "Close Encounters of the Gravitational Kind," or the Exploratorium Baseball site for details.

Essentially when a light object collides head on with a heavy object the light object will bounce off the heavier one faster than it came in. For example, consider a Ping-Pong ball colliding with the front windshield of a moving car.

In this variation replace the tennis ball with an egg. The egg will remain intact after its collision with the basketball since it is colliding with an air filled ball that will deform to the shape of the egg. However when the egg returns to the ground after its high bounce it will likely splatter.

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Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 2000

1 Feb 2000