If you’re curious about what would happen if a perfectly hit cue ball hit a perfectly aligned pool rack perfectly in the middle, well here’s what it will look like. It’s mathematically perfect. Not even the best pool players in the world, magnet breakers or robots can even get it to look like this.
Why? Because it’s just a basic maths and physics problem, after all. The animation below was created in Mathetmatica by Jim Belk, who I will presume is a wizard. In the maths problem, the pool balls in the rack are perfectly round and exactly equally spaced from each other and perfectly touching all the balls they should be touching. The cue ball is then hit, you guessed it, perfectly on a friction free surface and smacks the center ball of the rack right in the middle.
And here’s what happens:
There were theories that the balls in the rack would simply react like some form of Newton’s Cradle as the force would be transferred through each ball and then released to the corner balls but that is assuming that the stiffness of normal pool balls goes to infinity. Belk says that pool balls don’t exactly work like that. So instead, we have some balls sticking together, some balls moving up, some balls moving down and so forth. There you go, the mathematically perfect centered pool break (I know, no one is breaking like this).
If you want to take a look at Belk’s fascinating maths, it’s over at Maths Overflow.