Ever wondered what makes jumping on trampolines fun? Or what is the mechanism behind the bounce that we experience while jumping on the trampoline? Trampoline is an excellent example of damped oscillation and the application of Newton’s laws of motion.

Yes, you read it right. Trampoline has Physics involved in it. A trampoline is made up of a fabric that is round in shape and springs are suspended from the rigid frame. The bouncing effect is due to the presence of the springs. Also, Hooke’s Law plays a major role, which states that the force required by the spring to extend is proportional to the length of the extension. So, it can be said that the heavier a person on a trampoline, the longer the spring extends.

The bounce in the trampoline is a combination of Hooke’s law as well as Newton’s third law of motion. According to Newton’s third law of motion, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That is, whenever a force is exerted on the springs of the trampoline, there is an equal and opposite reaction, which makes the spring extend resulting in the bounce effect.

How does damping work?

Consider a spring that is under pressure, and when it is released from the pressure, the kinetic energy of the spring will make the spring bounce off. The damping effect is very small and the amplitude of the effect reduces gradually. This happens as long as the object continues to oscillate. Also, there are chances of the occurrence of overdamping.

This is how the trampoline works.

Bungee jumping and the Physics behind it

The most adventurous sport that is liked by most youngsters, a sport that gives an adrenaline rush is bungee jumping. The Physics behind bungee jumping is very interesting as it includes various concepts such as acceleration due to gravity and the potential energy that is stored in the cords.

There are two major components of bungee jumping and they are:

  • The gravitational potential energy of the jumper.
  • The elastic potential energy of the bungee cord.

Before jumping off the platform, the mass of the jumper is m and the length of the bungee cord is L and high potential energy is possessed by the jumper. Once the jump is made, the length of the cord remains the same as the gravitational force is acting on the jumper. As the jumper approaches the ground, the cord gets stretched and the speed slows down. As the maximum stretch is attained, the upward force acts on the jumper, pushing him against the gravity which results in the oscillation of the jumper.

This is the reason why we see the jumper move to and fro after the cord is stretched completely.

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