Q:

Why does temperature affect the height a rubber ball bounces?

Our science fair experiment involved measuring the height a rubber ball bounces at room temperature, after being in the freezer and in the oven (250 degrees).  The ball bounced the highest after being in the oven and the lowest bounces came after being in the freezer - why?
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> 60 days ago

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Does the rubber ball you are testing have air inside?

The rubber is made up of long elastic polymers which can stretch, and then return to their previous position, giving rubber its bouncy qualities. The rubber will only do this between certain temperatures (the elastic temperature range). When the rubber is cooled the the polymers become brittle and can even break (glass temperature range). At warmer temperatures the polymers elastic polymers can permanently deform (visco-elastic temperature range), and at high enough temperatures it will melt (viscus temperature range).

At the two extremes of this range, viscus and glass, the rubber will bounce very little, or not at all. The specific value of the temperatures depends on why kind of rubber you use (for instance, plexiglass is in the glass range at room temperature). There will be a temperature at which the rubber is the 'most elastic', ie, when it is at its bounciest (the least amount of energy is lost (to heat and sound) in the collision with the ground, resulting in the highest bounce). It sounds like for your ball it was still very elastic at 250 degrees F.

If your ball has air inside, then the above still applies, but some of the elastic properties come from compressing the air inside the ball. At higher temperatures the air pressure is higher (hot air expands), that is the air is pushing against the walls of the ball more. When the ball bounces, the higher pressure air will resist the compression by the rubber more, and bounce higher. Conversely at lower temperatures the air pressure will be lower (cold air contracts) and will not resist the compression as well. The cold air will instead absorb some of the compression, and not bounce as high.
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Because of the air temperature and the pressure in the air so if high it will bounce high if low it will bounce low.
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higher temperatures the air pressure is higher (hot air expands), that is the air is pushing against the walls of the ball more. When the ball bounces, the higher pressure air will resist the compression by the rubber more, and bounce higher. Conversely at lower temperatures the air pressure will be lower (cold air contracts) and will not resist the compression as well. The cold air will instead absorb some of the compression, and not bounce as high.
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The rubber ball gets paralyzed in the freezer, which restricts it from bouncing high.
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