1N40.60 - Superball

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Conservation of Linear Momentum, Two-Dimensional Collisions
Area of Study:
Superball, table.

Superballs, and the bouncing of Superballs with and without spin.  Also, the curious behavior of a Superball returning to the starting point when bounced under a table.

  • Kelley D. Sullivan, "What’s in a Name: Why Do We Call a Bouncy Ball Bouncy?", TPT, Vol. 57, #4, Apr. 2019, p. 229. 
  • Peter Knipp, "Bouncing Balls that Spin", TPT, Vol. 46, #2, Feb. 2008, p. 95.
  • Gerhard Stroink, "Worth Reading", TPT, Vol. 45, #7, Oct. 2007, p. 406.
  • Iain MacInnes, "Debouncing a Superball", TPT, Vol. 45, #5, May 2007, p. 304. 
  • Robert Beck Clark, "Authors Response", TPT, Vol. 45, #5, May 2007, p. 262.
  • Greg Sherman, "Friction and Bouncing Balls", TPT, Vol. 45, #5, May 2007, p. 261.
  • Robert Beck Clark, "That's the Way the Bouncing Ball Spins", TPT, Vol. 42, #8, Nov. 2006, p. 550.
  • Martin Gardner, "Crazy Bounce", TPT, Vol. 35, #3, Mar. 1997, p. 159.
  • G. Stroink, "Superball Problem", TPT, Vol. 21, #7, Oct. 1983, p. 466.
  • Xinrui Li, Guangyuan Chen, Ren Jie Tee, Jie Xu Liu, Christopher Ong, "Dynamics of a Bouncing Capsule: An Impulse Model vs a Hertzian Model", AJP, Vol. 92, #6, June 2024, p. 424.
  • Rod Cross, "Oblique Collision of a Soft Rubber Disk With a Rigid Surface", AJP, Vol. 91, #7, July 2023, p. 532.
  • Rod Cross, "Impact of a Ball on a Surface with Tangential Compliance", AJP, Vol. 78, # 7, p. 716, July 2010.
  • Antonio Domenech, "A Classical Experiment Revisited: The Bounce of Balls and Superballs in Three Dimensions", AJP, Vol. 73, #1, Jan. 2005, p. 28.
  • Brian T. Hefner, "The Kinematics of a Superball Bouncing Between Two Vertical Surfaces", AJP, Vol. 72, #7, July 2004, p. 875.
  • Rod Cross, "Grip-Slip Behavior of a Bouncing Ball", AJP, Vol. 70, #11, Nov. 2002, p. 1093.
  • Rod Cross, "Measurements of the Horizontal Coefficient of Restitution for a Superball and a Tennis Ball", AJP, Vol. 70, #5, May 2002, p. 482.
  • Frank S. Crawford, "Superball and Time-Reversal Invariance", AJP, Vol. 50, #9, Sept. 1982, p. 856.
  • William G. Harter, "Velocity Amplification in Collision Experiments Involving Superballs", AJP, Vol. 39, #6, June 1971, p. 656.
  • Walter Roy Mellen, "Superball Rebound Projectiles", AJP, Vol. 36, #9 Sept. 1968, p. 845.
  • George L. Strobel, "Matrices and Superballs", AJP, Vol. 36, #9, Sept. 1968, p. 834.
  • Richard L. Garwin, "Kinematics of an Ultraelastic Rough Ball", AJP, Vol. 37, #1, Jan. 1968, p. 88.
  • Pat Murphy, Ellen Macaulay, and the staff of the Exploratorium, "Putting a Spin on It", Exploratopia, p. 141.
  • Martin Gardner, "21, Crazy Bounce", Smart Science Tricks, p. 37.
  • Jearl Walker, "1.76, Super Ball Tricks", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 38.
  • Jearl Walker, "Superball Tricks", The Flying Circus of Physics, p. 30, 234.
  • Margaret D. Campbell, "Superball Collisions", Website Paper.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.