Q:

# If a Softball and a Basketball Roll Down an Incline, Which Ball Travels Faster?

A:

A basketball and a softball roll down an incline at the same speed under the ideal conditions of smooth balls and a smooth incline. The speed at which a ball rolls down an incline depends on the coefficient of kinetic friction between the ball and the surface.

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Credit: Alun Salt CC-BY-2.0

Under real-world conditions, if the basketball has a rough surface when compared to the softball, then the coefficient of kinetic friction between the basketball and the incline is higher. A higher coefficient of kinetic friction means there is greater resistance to movement at the ball-incline surface, meaning that the ball rolls down slower.

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