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Free fall and harmonic oscillations - analysing trampoline jumps

Journal article
Authors Ann-Marie Pendrill
David Eager
Published in Physics Education
Volume 50
Pages 64-70
ISSN 0031-9120
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Pages 64-70
Language en
Keywords Trampoline, g force, harmonic oscillator, free fall
Subject categories Physical Sciences


Trampolines can be found in many gardens and also in some playgrounds. They offer an easily accessible vertical motion, including free fall. In this work, the motion on a trampoline is modelled by assuming a linear relation between force and deflection, giving harmonic oscillations for small amplitudes. An expression for the cycle-time is obtained in terms of maximum normalised force from the trampoline and the harmonic frequency. A simple expression is obtained for the ratio between air-time and harmonic period, and the maximum g-factor. The results are compared to experimental results, including accelerometer data showing 7g during bounces on a small trampoline in an amusement park play area. Similar results are obtained in a larger garden trampoline and even stronger forces have been measured for gymnastic trampolines.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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