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Table Tennis Dynamics
Mitch Robinson
The Physics: Translation
• Behind the complex skill involved with table tennis is a interesting
world of physics
– Forces:
• Magnus Effect (Lifting Force)
– Derived from Kutta Condition
with integration over cylinders of
dx height
• Gravity
• Drag
• Used a fourth order ODE solver to apply forces and step
through time
The Physics: Rotation
Spin Characteristics:
• Spin (s)
• Velocity (vx, vy)
• Coefficient of Restitution (ex, ey)
• Conservation of angular momentum
• Moment of Inertia for Thin Sphere Shell
• Exit Translational Velocity for
• Exit Rotational Speed
Movie 2
Ou, Kui. Computational Sports Dynamics of a Moving Sphere:
Simulating a Ping Pong Ball in Free Flight. Aeronautic and
Astronautics Department, Stanford University. 30 June, 2011.
Cross, Rod. Bounce of a spinning ball near normal incidence.
Physics Department, University of Sydney. 4 July, 2005.