Can tennis balls be pressurized? - Tennis Review

Can tennis balls be pressurized?

Fast bowling is an obsession

Is it possible to put the air pressure back into the tennis ball once it has lost it's original pressure?
- Scott (age 48)
Ky

A:

Hello Scott,

A friend of mine once bought a special tennis ball holder that you could screw the top way down and compress the air inside the can. I don't think he ever made any quantitative tests that it did any good. I always assumed it was a scam but he seemed happy.

The bounce of a tennis ball is dependent on several properties, mainly, the elastic properties of the outer shell and the internal air pressure. I'm not sure which of the two is more important, probably the former. According to the official rules a tennis ball dropped from a height of 100 inches onto a hard plate must bounce to a height of between 53 and 58 inches.

There are many books out there that are full of information about the physics of tennis. The one I have on my bookshelf was written by Brody, Cross, and Lindsey: "The Physics and Technology of Tennis"

Follow-Up #1: How to re-pressurize tennis balls

Q:

How can I re-pressurize again used tennis balls? trough an autoclave? can the ball stand hight temperatures? how do i do it? can i also inject liquid nitrogen without damaging it?
- mike (age 43)
bethesda, MD

It's hard to believe that the polymers in a tennis ball would make it through an autoclave without major damage. Injecting liquid nitrogen has a different big problem- it leaves a hole.

People do re-pressurize tennis balls at room temperature just by storing them in a few atmospheres of pressure. There are commercial products designed to do just that. There are many discussions of that on the web. Warming the balls should speed up the process by making it easier for air to work its way through the ball. It would take some experimenting to find a good temperature to speed it up without causing any permanent harm to the ball.



You might also like

Using the Yellow tennis balls can be very challenging
Using the Yellow tennis balls can be very challenging
Tennis Ball Cannon
Tennis Ball Cannon
Oncourt Offcourt Quick Start 78 Storage Bucket
Sports (Oncourt Offcourt)
  • Bucket Only!
  • Great for organizing your transition balls and the bright colors create fun targets
  • In addition, a few of our teaching pro customers put on the hinged lid and have the children sit on these very durable buckets, trying to catch controlled shots...
  • The partners learn control and with several pairs of children partnered up, this concept makes for a great cooperative yet competitive group game that is easy to...
  • The youngest children can start by just throwing balls to one another; as they progress, have them bounce and hit to their partners

Copyright © . All Rights Reserved