Physics in Pool

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Physics in Sports


Billiards, Pool or 8 Ball are the names given to this game. For many of us 8 Ball is a game that we play at friends' place or at pool houses, pubs and a good many other places. But when you are playing 8 Ball you would never really think about physics would you? But it is there, and it is in play everytime the cue hits the ball to make it curve, everytime you jump the ball over another or bounce it around the cushioned sides to get the white ball to connect with one of your own. This connection is also a matter of physics, the angles that you hit the balls into the pockets at, the speeds that the balls travel at and of course the ever embarrassing ball bouncing around the table without hitting a ball at all. Why does the white ball slow down? Why didn't that ball go in the pocket? Why did that ball hit the back of the pocket and pop back out? These questions are all related to physics and will be discussed throughout this investigation as well as many others revolving around differences in equipment and other interesting facts.

Description of Materials Used

The materials used for 8 Ball are generally the same for each person, with the exception of people who have extra things that others don't have (spiders, score counters, Kelly pool balls and snooker balls - another type of game with similar characteristics but different rules). 8 Ball is played on a table which is usually around about the height of 120cm above the floor, the covering on the top of the pool table is a cloth type surface called 'felt' made of a type of wool which has a very small amount of friction, the table is normally in a rectangular shape that normally can have as big dimensions as 3 metres in length and around about a metre in width. 8 Ball is played with 16 balls on the table numbered from 1 to 15 and with a white ball that is the ball that must be hit with the cue at the beginning of each shot. The cue is a cylindrical shaft made from wood that is hollow in places, with a shaft down the middle of the cue which gives the cue its power when it hits the ball; it has a hard but rubbery surface on the top of the cue (leather) that you connect to ball with, they come in a variety of sizes and have to main part to them; the butt (the back half) of the cue and the shaft which is obviously the front half of the cue where the majority of the power is generated from.

Billiards balls are made up of 'thermoset resin' which are words used to describe synthetic substances that set permanently in the shape that they are currently in when exposed to heat is an adjective used to describe synthetic substances that set permanently when heated. Another important part of physics believe it or not is the chalk (which actually contains no chalk at all!) that is rubbed onto the end of the cue which aids the player in their game due to friction applied allowing better control of the ball of the cue and less chance of slipping.

Application of Laws and Principles

In 8 ball you can describe the whole motion of the game with the aid of physics as well as a variety of laws related to physics. I will use the laws to describe each individual action of a play which will involve: the cue connecting the ball, the ball traveling across the table, the ball bouncing off of the cushioning and then finally hitting another ball into a pocket. When the ball connects with the cue there is a transfer of energy and momentum in which the Conservation of Energy law and Conservation of Momentum law apply, these laws state that energy and momentum are not lost or gained but are transferred to the object an its surroundings. The white ball is originally stationary on the table and the cue is rested between the players' fingers (which act as a base for the shot), the player then proceeds to increase the momentum of the cue from stationary to an accelerating state. The cue carries its...
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