International Journal of Engineering Education
This paper addresses aerodynamic modeling issues related to a simple experiment in which a pingpong ball is dropped from rest onto a table surface. From the times between the ball-table impacts, the initial drop height and the coefficient of restitution can be determined using a model that neglects aerodynamic drag. The experiment prompts questions about modeling the dynamics of a simple impact problem, including the importance of accounting for aerodynamic effects. Two nonlinear aerodynamic models are discussed in the context of experimental results.