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Title: Modelling the impact of tennis balls on court surfaces
Author: Dignall, Richard John
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 2814
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2005
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A model of tennis balls impacting obliquely on tennis courts was developed in this study. Balls were impacted normally on a force plate to read impact force data, and filmed at high speed during oblique impacts. A normal model was created and then extended to cover oblique impacts. The experimental data was used to verify the model in each case. A study of surface testing methods found that tennis courts are significantly stiffer than tennis balls; so much so that they can be considered rigid. A coefficient of friction between ball and surface was all that was necessary to define a surface. Normal impacts were performed on a force plate for four different ball constructions at speeds between 3 and 20 ms-I . Impact speed had a significant effect on coefficient of restitution (ratio of rebound speed to inbound speed) - for example for a pressurised ball, from about 0.8 at an impact speed of 3 msI to about 0.6 at 20 msI. Pressureless balls bounce at a similar speed to pressurised balls at low impact speeds, but slower at high impact speeds. Punctured balls bounce slower throughout the range of impact speeds. All balls showed a rapid increase in force during the initial part of the impact. An iterative model was created to simulate normal impact. A numerical method was used to find the effect of deformation shape on the relationship between centre of mass movement and ball deformation. A total force during impact was created by combining structural stiffness, material damping and impulsive reaction forces. This model worked well for all ball types and used quasi-static compression data and a low speed drop test to find the parameters. The impulsive force simulated the initial increase in force well. A thorough experimental study of oblique impacts was performed by isolating in turn each of the key incoming properties of impact. The incoming speed, spin and angle, together with the ball and surface construction were individually varied in turn and the effect on outgoing characteristics measured using high speed video footage. In most cases there was a distinct change in rebound properties when rolling happened. Footage at up to 7000 frames per second was used to qualitatively explain the effect of deformation shapes on energy losses. It was found that impacts with backspin caused more deformation and an increased energy loss compared to normal impacts with the same vertical velocity. Impacts with topspin had a reduced vertical energy loss. The normal model was extended to include the horizontal and rotational forces necessary to simulate an oblique impact. A damping compensation factor was included to adjust the vertical energy losses at different spin rates. The oblique test data was used to verify the model, and there was a very good correlation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available