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Quantification and simulation of the effects of the table tennis paddle surface on ball rebound (M/F)

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General information

Reference : UMR5672-JEAGEM-001
Workplace : LYON 07
Date of publication : Monday, June 15, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Jean-Christophe Géminard
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Within the framework of the Sciences^2024* project, meetings between representatives of the Olympic Table Tennis (FFTT) and Handisport (FFH) Federations lead to identification research lines for the improvement of the performance of the table tennis players of the French teams. One of these lines concerns the rebound of the ball on the paddle which must be adapted to the style of each player.

The competition table tennis paddle is a subtle assembly of layers of wood and polymer materials (foam, coating). The choice of this assembly is guided solely by the experience of the manufacturers and players. The parameters are however numerous: wood species and number of plies, type and thickness of the foam and covering, its surface (smooth, pimpled). The influence of these parameters on the game speed and on the effects is certain, but is not, or only poorly, objectively quantified.

The main objective of the thesis is to quantify the role played by each of the parameters in the rebound properties (speed and spin restitution) and to propose, from the results, a guide for the coach or the player to build the paddle best suited to his style of play.

The project is based on two complementary approaches: experimental analysis and simulation of ball rebound on surfaces in the translation and rotation speed ranges encountered in game situations. The project in organized in three main actions:
- Experimental study of ball rebound on paddles. Analysis of rebound conditions under typical conditions to characterize the surfaces used by players in competition (in particular pimple/ball contact) and to provide comparative data for numerical studies.
- Numerical simulation of ball/paddle impact. Improvement and adaptation of existing models to the case of pimple/ball contact. Implementation of the material characteristics of rubbers and surfaces.
- Synthesis for federations.

*https://sciences2024.polytechnique.fr/

Work Context

Funding for this thesis was obtained in response to the GDR "Sport and sports activities" call. The doctoral student will work with Jean-Christophe Géminard and Vincent Dolique at the Laboratoire de Physique (Ens de Lyon), in collaboration with Lionel Manin from LaMCoS (INSA Lyon) and Renaud Rinaldi (INSA Lyon). A strong interaction will be maintained with the FFTT, the FFH and high-level table tennis players in order to answer their questions.

The activities of the Laboratoire de Physique cover a wide range of fields, from statistical physics to hydrodynamic turbulence, including also mathematical physics and signal processing, but also soft or condensed matter. This multidisciplinarity is notably maintained by the strong association of the laboratory with physics training at the ENS de Lyon.

Solid expertise already exist on experimental (Ens de Lyon) and numerical (INSA de Lyon) aspects that will allow the PhD student to quickly get into the subject.

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