Free fall and harmonic oscillations: analysing trampoline jumps

Publisher:
IOP Publishing Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Physics Education, 2015, 50 (1), pp. 64 - 70
Issue Date:
2015-01
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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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