Physics Of Pool Essay

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Physics Of Pool When most of us go out to play pool we do not realize how much physics effects our game. If we took the time to understand at least the basic physics of pool it might be amazing to what degree we could improve our skills. Most of us already know at least somewhat the general idea of how to play pool well. Below I will give a brief description of how physics plays a part in improving you game of pool. So read on if you care to impress your fellow pool players! For the purpose of billiards we will not go into great detail as to what momentum is. Basically though it can be thought of using the following equation; p = mv where p = momentum m = mass of object v = velocity of object Kinetic energy is energy associated with the motion of an object. For basic purposes we can just look at the following equation that relates kinetic energy with mass and velocity of an object. “K = ½mv2 where K = kinetic energy” (Koehler, J., The Science of Pocket Billiards) When you strike another ball with the cue ball it is almost a perfect elastic collision. An elastic collision is one in which total kinetic energy as well as total momentums are conserved within the system. This can be shown by the two basic equations; Conservation of “Kinetic Energy: ½m1v1i2 + ½m2v2i2 = ½m1v1f2 + ½m2v2f2 Conservation of Momentum: m1v1i + m2v2i = m1v1f + m2v2f where m = mass of object v = velocity” (Koehler, J., The Science of Pocket Billiard) Since the cue ball has virtually the same mass as the other balls and the velocity of our second ball will always be zero, since we are striking a static ball with the cue ball. In addition this is considered a two- dimensional collision. From this we know that momentum is saved within the y component and within the x component. Therefore in the case of pool we can rewrite these two equations as:

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