Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Physics



Faculty Advisor(s)

Jennifer Heath (Thesis Advisor)
Tianbao Xie & Michael Crosser (Committee Members)

Subject Categories

Energy Systems | Engineering Physics | Physics | Sports Sciences


A baseball travels across different surfaces at different paces. The goal of this experiment is to find a percentage difference in speeds the ball will reflect off a given surface. The energy lost on the turf surface was far more significant than on dirt surface as the turf lost an average of 26% of its energy as compared to just 16% of the energy on dirt. In the Northwest conference, teams play on four turf-based infields and five dirt-based infields. The results of this study suggest that kinetic friction forces are more significant in reducing ball rebound speed than in elastic collision losses and that the ball pace across dirt surfaces is faster. These differences can affect player reactions and game play.