The Force Plate, like any sensor, has a limit to how quickly it can respond to a change. If a very short impulse is applied to the force plate, it will vibrate, or ring, for a short while. That ringing frequency is in the neighborhood of 250 Hz, with a period of about 4 ms. Any impulse with a duration shorter than 4 ms will only produce the ringing; there is no way to resolve anything shorter than that. Even an impulse with a time of 10 or 20 ms will be distorted by the finite response time of the force place. In order to really see the structure of an impulse, it would have be longer than 20 ms or so–ten times that would be a reasonable limit to get useful data.

This means that you could bounce a soft, squishy ball (if it is heavy enough – most nerf balls, for example, aren’t) off of the plate and see the details of the impulse, but you can’t possibly get useful data for the impulse of a baseball or a golf ball on the plate.

In addition, our software will object to sampling rates higher than 500 samples per second, since data collected at higher rates will not give good data due to the oscillation of the strain gauge.

To study faster collisions, a different method of force measurement is needed. Piezoelectric force sensors are usually used. Inexpensive, small piezoelectric force sensors are available. They are not easy to calibrate and may change calibration with time, use, and temperature. Very expensive piezoelectric force plates are also available.