The recording of impacts by means of the longitudinal strain wave generated in a Hopkinson pressure bar is no longer possible when the impact is very brief, on account of dispersive effects. The Rayleigh surface wave generated on the plane surface of a block is nondispersive. A method is given for deducing the force-time curve of the impact from the oscilloscope record of the surface wave, and applied to impacts of small steel balls on a block.

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