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Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

ME 3455: Dynamics and Vibrations (Spring 2017)

[Projectile Motion with Air Resistance]


Submitted by
[Bocar Zilla-Ba]

Abstract
In this experiment experimental data and mathematical models were used to
predict the travel distance of a golf ball. The experimental values were
obtained by running twelve trials of launching tennis balls. The mathematical
models were obtained using know values and formulas. The average
distance of the experimental launches was 43 ft 10.75 in with a standard
deviation of 1 ft 11.159 in. Using the analytical equation of projectile motion
which exclude the effect of air resistance horizontal distance is found to be
66.88 ft. Using the Simplified analytical model the horizontal distance is
found to be 43.49 ft. This showed that the Simplified analytical model is
much more accurate as it takes into account air resistance. When applied to
a golf ball hit at a 40 angle from the horizontal, with an initial velocity of
150 ft/sec. The analytical equation of projectile motion predicted the distance
to be 688.14 ft., and the Simplified analytical model predicted the horizontal
distance to be 212.63 ft.

Date Submitted: 3/22/17


Date Performed: 2/28/17
Lab Section: Section 3
Course Instructor: Srinath Chakravarthy

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Lab TA: Tingting Zhu
Introduction
In this experiment a tennis ball machine was used to launch tennis balls.
From the launch the initial speed and distance was measured. The distance
was measured using a measuring tape and the initial speed was calculated
using a speed gun, as well as using a frame by frame video. In the
experiment there were twelve trail runs, and the average was obtained. This
information was then compared to mathematical models. The model were
calculated based on if air resistance or drag was to be taken into
consideration.
The final part of the experiment was to use the mathematical models and
experimental values to predict the path of another object. The secondary
object chosen for comparison was a golf ball.
Experimental Results
In this experiment twelve separate trials were run. The recorded exit velocity
and distance traveled are recorded in table 1 below.
Table 1: Exit Velocity and Distance of each trial.

Ball Exit Distanc


Number Velocity e
1 35 mph 43 ft 4 in
2 35 mph 44 ft 9 in
3 35 mph 45 ft 3 in
4 35 mph 42 ft 4 in
5 36 mph 40 ft 11
in
6 36 mph 42 ft 5 in
7 36 mph 45 ft 8 in
8 37 mph 47 ft 11
in
9 35 mph 41 ft 6 in
10 34 mph 43 ft 1 in
11 37 mph 45 ft 6 in
12 35 mph 44 ft 1 in

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The average exit velocity was 35.5 mph with a standard deviation of .866
mph. The average distance was 43 ft 10.75 in with a standard deviation of 1
ft 11.159 in. The initial angle of flight was found to be 15.25 . The initial
speed based off of the frame by frame video is 44.41 mph. There is a 10 mph
discrepancy between the radar speed and the video speed. The average time
in flight for the experimental value is .85 seconds. The time in flight for the
frame by frame video is 1.06. The frame by frame values will be used for the
experiment as they are more accurate.
Using the analytical equation of projectile motion which exclude the effect of
air resistance with the angle and initial velocity found by the video, the
horizontal distance is found to be 66.88 ft. This is very far from the
experimental value as it doesnt account for air resistance.
Due to technical complications the numerical integration was unable to be
calculated.
Using the Simplified analytical model with angle and initial velocity found by
the video, the horizontal distance is found to be 43.49 ft. This is very close to
the experimental value, showing the accuracy of this model. The value for
/m was .01837.
Figure 1: Equation for Simplified Analytical model

Golf Ball
Using the analytical equation of projectile motion which exclude the effect of
air resistance, the horizontal distance was found to be 688.14 ft. The time in
flight was found to be 5.99 seconds. This model does not account for the air
resistance and therefor is not the most accurate model.
Using the Simplified analytical model the horizontal distance is found to be
212.63 ft. Due to the fact that the angle is not very small, the Simplified
analytical model is not the best model as it is meant for small angle s. The
value for /m was .0095.
Discussion of Results
The analytical model without air resistance is the least accurate model,
because it does not account for air resistance which has an impact on the
object. The Simplified analytical model is only accurate when the angle of
trajectory is small, as is accounts for air resistance only in the horizontal
direction. Therefore in the example of the golf ball it would not be the most
accurate model. Some causes of error are human error in the operation of
the radar gun. This would lead to slightly different values of initial speed.
Another possible source of error is the initial speed calculated using the

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frames in the video was based on an estimation of the position and not the
actual position.
Conclusions
In this experiment is was shown that air resistance has a large effect on an
object in motion in air. This in turn shows the inadequacies of the analytical
model without air resistance. The Simplified analytical model makes a better
representation of what actually happens, however it is limited by the fact
that it only accounts for air resistance in the horizontal direction, or when
there is a small angle of trajectory .

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