Research Papers

A Nondestructive Evaluation Approach to Characterize Tennis Balls

[+] Author and Article Information
Amir Nasrollahi, Andrew James, Laura Weighardt

Laboratory for Nondestructive Evaluation and
Structural Health Monitoring Studies,
Department of Civil and
Environmental Engineering,
University of Pittsburgh,
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Mehmet Sefa Orak

Department of Civil Engineering,
Istanbul Technical University (ITU),
Maslak, Istanbul 34469, Turkey

Piervincenzo Rizzo

Laboratory for Nondestructive Evaluation and
Structural Health Monitoring Studies,
Department of Civil and
Environmental Engineering,
University of Pittsburgh,
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
e-mail: pir3@pitt.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received April 5, 2018; final manuscript received October 8, 2018; published online October 31, 2018. Assoc. Editor: K. Elliott Cramer.

ASME J Nondestructive Evaluation 2(1), 011004 (Oct 31, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: NDE-18-1017; doi: 10.1115/1.4041717 History: Received April 05, 2018; Revised October 08, 2018

Sometimes, nondestructive evaluation (NDE) or structural health monitoring methods commonly used in engineering structures are used for the betterment of consumer goods. A classic example is the use of sensor systems to monitor the pressure and the quality of car tires. In this paper, we present a nondestructive method to characterize tennis balls. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) specifies which characteristics a tennis ball must have in order to be commercialized. One of these characteristics is bounciness and the standardized method to measure it is the rebound test, where a ball is released from 2.54 m onto a smooth rigid surface and, in order to be approved, the ball must bounce within a certain range. This test can be staged by manufacturers and testing authorities but the equipment necessary to perform it is not readily available to the average consumer. In the study presented in this paper, an empirical method based on the propagation of highly nonlinear solitary waves (HNSWs) is proposed to establish whether a given ball conforms the specifications set by the ITF in terms of bounciness and allowed deformation. The experiments conducted in this study aim to discover a correlation between some features of the waves and the values obtained with the rebound test and the compression test in which the deformation of the ball under a known load is measured. The presence of such correlations could represent a viable alternative to establish the conformity of tennis balls. Based on the empirical evidences collected in this study, a possible new standard is suggested.

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Fig. 1

(a) Scheme of the noninvasive alternative approach to characterize tennis balls. A chain of spherical particles able to sustain the propagation of HNSWs is in contact with the ball to be probed. A striker triggers the formation of the HNSW. At the interface with the rubber, two pairs of waves are generated and reflected at the interface, and their characteristics depend upon the internal pressure and bounciness of the ball. (b) Typical force profile of an incident solitary wave that is reflected at the interface with a material giving rise to primary and secondary HNSWs. In the present study, a correlation between the TOF of the first peak of the primary reflected wave and the compression and the rebound tests, standardized by the ITF, are investigated.

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Fig. 2

Close-up view of the setup for the solitary wave testing

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Fig. 3

Solitary wave test: (a) time waveform relative to sample PED #2 under pristine and deflated conditions and (b) TOF relative to the propagation of the first peak of the primary reflected wave measured for all 12 specimens under new and damaged conditions

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Fig. 4

Rebound test: (a) sound recorded when sample damaged PRD was tested and (b) CoR measured for all 12 specimens under new and damaged conditions

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Fig. 5

Compression test. Load versus deformation measured for PRD specimens. FW and RN identify the forward and the return deformation, respectively.

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Fig. 6

Compressive test. (a) Forward deformation for all 12 specimens under new and damaged conditions. (b) Return deformation for all 12 specimens under new and damaged conditions. To ease the comparison between the two deformations, the vertical scale of both plots is identical.

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Fig. 7

Empirical TOF as a function of the CoR: (a) values of all 12 specimens under new and damaged conditions and (b) linear relationship visible for Type 2 balls

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Fig. 8

Empirical TOF as a function of (a) the forward deformation and (b) the return deformation. To ease comparison, the vertical scale of both plots is identical.

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Fig. 9

Correlation between the TOF and (a) the forward deformation and (b) the return deformation



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