By: Kyle Turkowski and Scott Lovshin

QUESTION: What examples of physics would be involved in hitting a shuttlecock (birdie) with a badminton racquet?

This page is all about the physics of taking a badminton racquet and a birdie, and hitting the birdie. There are many forms of physics involvement in such a small process. The things that involve physics are things such as: transfer of momentum, Newton’s third law, acceleration, air resistance, Newton’s first law, free fall, and gravity.


Reasons why these topics would fall under such a fun sport:

  • Transfer of Momentum: This would fall under this category because once the birdie comes over to your side of the net you hit it and the momentum is transferred from the racquet to the birdie. This process keeps repeating because once the momentum from the racquet is transferred to the birdie the birdie is sent back and then the other person hits it back.
  • Newton’s Third Law: The reason Newton’s third law would fall under hitting birdie is because that when you let the birdie bounce off your racquet Newton’s third law kicks in and bounces the birdie back without you swinging your racquet. An example of this is the racquet is acting as a wall, you are the birdie. If you run into that wall as hard as you can, you are going to bounce right off.
  • Acceleration involves hitting a birdie because there is always an acceleration change because there is always a velocity change. The change in velocity would be hitting the birdie back because it goes from going from one person towards the other.
  • Air resistance is a part of hitting a birdie because no matter how hard you hit the birdie it will eventually slow down due to the air resistance that is cause because of the holes in the birdie. If it weren't for the holes in the birdie it would go faster but with the holes, air resistance is a big factor.
  • Newton’s first law of motion is related to the hitting of the birdie in Badminton because when you hit the birdie back it will keep going in that direction forever unless gravity acts on it or the other people hit it back.
  • Free fall is part of hitting the birdie in badminton. It is part of it because when it starts to go down after being hit and make it like an arch it has no forces acting upon in forcing it downwards. An example of this is skydiving, once you jump out of the plane and your going down to the surface, you cannot go any faster than 9.8 meters a second.
  • Gravity plays apart in hitting the birdie because the birdie would keep going and going unless gravity acted upon it and pulled it down to earth. Gravity not only pulls the birdie down, put pulls everything down so everything can stay on earth.

STEPS TO HITTING A BIRDIE: When you first start off with badminton you have to serve it which involves a lot of physics. First you need to drop the birdie which free fall falls under and swing at it with your racquet. When you swing your racquet and hit the birdie, numerous amounts of physics happen all at the same time. First there is transfer in momentum, Newton's third law, Newton's first law, and gravity. The transfer of momentum is a big part in this process. There is a lot of momentum in the swing of your racquet and once it hits the birdie it takes all of it and transfers to the birdie which then goes to the other side of the net. Isaac Newton is a big factor in this process too. His first and third law comes into play on such an easy process. If you don't know his first law in a nut shell is: an object at rest or in motion will remain at rest or in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. This plays a role because once you drop the birdie to serve it to the other side your racquet is acting as that unbalanced force once it hits the birdie. The other reason Isaac plays a role is his third law kicks in. His third law in a nut shell is: for each action there an equal opposite reaction. An example of this is if you drop a bouncy ball on a table, when it bounces back up that is the reaction from your action of dropping it on the table. Gravity is another huge part in this process. If there was no such thing as gravity there would be no such thing as badminton. Why? Because gravity pulls everything down to earth, so if there was no gravity you would hit the birdie and it would just go sailing on and on for ever. Now as you can see there are many types of physics in such a simple fun activity.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:external image stock-photo-birdie-action-badminton-racket-and-shuttlecock-close-up-and-high-sky-blue-13394167.jpg

Picture from:(http://thumb11.shutterstock.com.edgesuite.net/display_pic_with_logo/7381/7381,1212646628,1/stock-photo-birdie-action-badminton-racket-and-shuttlecock-close-up-and-high-sky-blue-13394167.jpg)

Mr. Weinandt's 6th hour Physical Science class.

Mrs. Soderstrom's 7th hour Physical Education class "raquet sports".

Here is a little fun game you could play to show all of these examples in use: (http://www.badminton-information.com/badminton-game.html)