Evan's Space

Wonders of Physics


Velocity-time and Displacement-time graph for Ball dropped and rebounces back

When a ball is released from a height, it will accelerate on the way down due to the resultant force (weight) acting downwards. Just before the ball touches the ground, the velocity of the ball is the maximum. When it hits the ground, the speed decreases to 0 m/s instantly. When it rebounces back in the opposite direction, the initial velocity is the maximum. Assume ideal situation (no air resistance, no energy lost to sound or heat). The ball will rebounce back to its original height.


In reality, there is work done against air resistanceenergy converted to heat and sound when ball hits the ground, hence the ball will never reach its original height.


Note that in both situations, conservation of energy always applied. All energy is conserved, just that energy of the ball is converted to other forms like heat and sound.


Velocity-time and Displacement-time graph for Ball thrown up and comes down

A ball is thrown vertically upwards from the hand and lands back onto the hand. It is important to note that once the ball leaves the hand, the  resultant force acting on the ball is only its weight! And it is acting downwards throughout the motion. 


Velocity-Time Graph

Displacement-Time Graph

Key points to note when sketching the v-t graph:
1) Fixing the direction up to be positive (can be down as positive if you want)
2) At t = 0s, the initial velocity of the ball is maximum.
3) As it goes up vertically, due to the weight acting downwards, the ball decreases in speed (decelerates)
4) At the highest point, the ball is momentarily at rest (v =0m/s)
5) On the way down, due to the weight of the ball acting downward, the ball accelerates downwards.

Click here for a physics comic on this concept