Science Fair ProjectBy: Brandon Ascher and Carlos RuizAs a soccer player, we never worry too much about the air pressure of the ball we are using. But one day we started thinking about it and we asked each other questions. What if the air pressure was important, and could even change the outcome of a game? What if you missed a much needed goal because the ball’s air pressure wasn’t the right amount? Is there a perfect amount of air pressure to get the maximum kicking distance? We want to find out a solution for this problem to help help all soccer players improve their kicking. That is why for our science fair project, we will be investigating whether or not the air pressure affects the distance the ball travels.Newton’s third law states that, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction (“Newton’s Third Law,” 1996). When the ball has a lower air pressure, the elasticity of the ball is decreased, and there isn’t a lot of air to transfer the energy of your kick to propel it forward. If the ball has more air pressure then the force of your kick will create more kinetic energy in the air molecules to propel it forward. Kinetic energy is the energy of mass in motion (Jim Lucas, 2014). We will have to measure the pressure of the air using the pressure formula, force divided by area, and we will label it with kPa (a kilopascal). Another formula we will be using to aid us is the formula for Newton’s Third Law is that the force of A is equal to the negative force of B (FA= -FB).For our experiment, we will be using a Nike soccer ball, an air pump, and air pressure gauge. Both of us will be kicking the ball at three different pressure levels, five times each. We want to take 5 trials each because we know not every kick will be the same strength, so the best we can do is find the average. We researched another project similar to ours and they have different results than what we predict. They used a catapult to launch their ball at different air pressures (“Ask an Expert: Soccer Ball Air Pressure,” 2013). We think that our results will be different because we are using a different method to gather our data.We believe that the lower the air pressure, the shorter the distance the ball will travel, and vice versa. We think this because if there is not a sufficient amount of air in the ball to transfer the kinetic energy, then the ball will not travel as far. The reason for this prediction is that since the ball will have a low elasticity, there is not enough force to propel the ball forward. The energy being used to kick will be absorbed by the ball and made into thermal energy (“Soccer Ball Physics,” 1998). Also, as the pressure of the ball increases, so does the potential energy stored inside the ball. When it is kicked the kinetic energy of your foot adds even more to the potential energy of the ball. Therefore if there is less pressure, then there is less potential energy to add to the kick and increase the ball’s travel distance. From our science experiment, we hope to find out if our hypothesis is true or not. We will try to find the perfect amount of air pressure for a soccer ball, not too flat but not too hard. If our ideas are true, then we could potentially have a way to improve a soccer player’s game. Even though the air pressure of a soccer ball seems like it’s not a big deal, it greatly affects the way a soccer player kicks. The game of soccer is all about kicking the ball, so with the data we will collect, we will find out if the air pressure of a soccer ball affects the distance it travel.
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