Have you ever wondered what the mass of a typical basketball is? How about the mass of each size of a basketball. Remember there are different sizes of basketballs for different age groups. What is the difference and how do they compare in mass.
Let’s first take a look at what mass is, how it is different from weight, and then how it is different for a few of the different sizes of basketballs.
A Quick Physics Refresher
When the question is first asked about the mass of a basketball, you might just be thinking it is the same as its weight, but this is not true. If you think back to science class you may remember. Mass is a measure of how much matter an object is made up of. Where weight is actually a measure of the force of gravity on that object.
So, mass is always constant, but weight can be different depending on where the object is located. A basketball on earth will weigh different on the moon or Jupiter, but its mass remains the same in all 3 locations.
Mass is not a common specification that we normally see for a basketball, so how can we find out the mass of a basketball? Let’s take a look at some basic physics.
Weight(or the force of gravity) = mass x acceleration or for short W = ma
a = Acceleration of the earth’s gravity = 9.8 m/s squared.
So using this we now have:
W = m x 9.8
To find the mass we can re-arrange the equation as:
m = W/9.8
Since mass is usually measured in grams, which is metric, we need to convert the weight to metric which is in Newtons instead of ounces. To do this we can use the following:
1 ounce = 0.27801385 newton
So, if you are still following along, our final equation will be:
m = (Wx0.27801385)/9.8
Now with this equation, we can calculate the mass of any basketball for which we know the weight. Let’s find out the mass of the four main sizes of basketballs.
What is the Mass of Each Size of Basketball
Let’s use our new equation, m = (Wx0.27801385)/9.8, along with the specified weight of each basketball to find out the mass of Size 4 – Size 7 basketballs.
This size basketball is used for boys and girls ages 5 – 8 and weighs about 14 oz.
m = (14×0.27801385)/9.8 = 0.397 Kg
This is the standard youth size basketball for boys and girls 9 – 11 and it weighs about 17 oz.
m = (17×0.27801385)/9.8 = 0.482 Kg
This is the boy’s age 12 – 14 and girls age 12 and up. It weighs about 20 oz.
m = (20×0.27801385)/9.8 = 0.567 Kg
This size is for boys 15 and up, high school, college, and NBA. It weighs about 22 oz.
m = (22×0.27801385)/9.8 = 0.624 Kg
This equation can be used to calculate the mass of any object, not just basketball. If you don’t really want to do the math, but want to find out the mass of something, take a look at this online mass calculator.
You probably have never expected to get a physics and math lesson while reading about basketball, but I hope that you enjoyed this and learned something using basketball as an example to spark your interest in an academic subject. Sometimes when we have something that we really enjoy like basketball we can use it as a tool to learn other things.
What other types of scientific or mathematical topics can we use basketball to learn about? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave your comments if you would like.