## Tuesday, January 21, 2020

### Physics of Bowling Essays -- physics bowling sport sports

Aside from being one of the most accessible (and best!) sports out there, many aspects of bowling can be expressed with physics. Achieving maximum power, throwing a hook ball, and getting good pin action can all be broken down into physics issues and represented with equations. I will cover four aspects of bowling that can be explained with physics terms and show you how to use this knowledge to optimize your game. Gravitational Potential Energy Depending on the height from which the bowler drops the bowling ball, the ball will have a certain amount of potential energy. If the bowler bowls with a straight ball, the potential energy of the ball will not affect their game very much. It will, however, draw attention to the bowler when they drop the ball sufficiently high as to broadcast sonic reverberations of the ensuing lane-punishment for the rest of the bowlers to hear (and laugh at). Thus, it is in the straight-ball bowler's best interests to keep the ball as close to the lane as possible upon release. Bowlers who bowl with a hook-ball have even more at stake. The more potential energy the ball has upon release, the longer it will bounce as it travels down the lane. This translates into less opportunity for a hook-ball to catch friction against the lane. Remember, the horizontal velocity is independent of the vertical velocity, hence (assuming the ball is always thrown with a force parallel to the horizon) the ball will take the same amount of time to reach the pins, regardless of how much time it spends airborne. Direction of the Initial Force For maximum impact, the bowler must release the ball with a force perfectly parallel to the horizon. Since the horizontal velocity is independent of the vertical velocity, an... ... an elastic collision. The pins bounce against one another because their momentum is conserved during the collision(s). To achieve the most pin action, the bowler must put plenty of energy into the system and also find a direction of impact to efficiently distribute the kinetic energy. During pin action, some of the energy is transformed into sound. If the bowler's throw produces a single, loud *dink* sound, they are hearing the audible period punctuating their failure of a throw. On the other hand, if the bowler's throw produces a sound not unlike a marble statue being clubbed to death, this means two things. First, there must be lots of pin action to be producing all of those collision sounds; second, the bowler is very strong, has thrown the ball parallel to the horizon, and has hit the pins at an angle capable of distributing the kinetic energy efficiently.