General Question

alexSaysArff's avatar

The science behind table tennis?

Asked by alexSaysArff (31points) February 18th, 2008

How does friction and gravity affect ping pong? What forces are used in ping pong? What about kind of energy? All or one of those questions with an answer would be appreciated (:

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3 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Kinetic energy.
Electromagnetic force (i.e. low-speed elastic collisions between solid objects, and tangential frictional force imparting torque and rotation), and of course gravity.
The main thing that’s unusual about ping pong is of course the rigidity and lightness of the balls compared to their size, so that very subtle differences in the force of a stroke have a big effect (in contrast to Badminton, for example). Also the greater size means more relative air resistance (friction with air) compared to a denser ball.

Also, for the case of someone like me who has difficulty not hitting the ball too hard, there may be a buildup of psychic energy from frustration and/or hilarity.

steelmarket's avatar

I agree, Zaku. Sometimes there is a localized “cursing force” involved.

Jayne's avatar

The magnus effect link

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