Free fall and harmonic oscillations: Analyzing trampoline jumps

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Physics Education, 2015, 50 (1), pp. 64 - 70
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd. Trampolines can be found in many gardens and also in some playgrounds. They offer an easily accessible vertical motion that includes 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 normalized 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 on a larger garden trampoline, and even larger accelerations have been measured for gymnastic trampolines.
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