Aerodynamics of a Baseball
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Bryan E. Spears
July 10, 2011
Aerodynamics is known as the study of the different forces acting on an object and the resulting motion of objects as they fly through the air. Today we know that aerodynamics plays a major role in many sports, such as tennis, soccer, hunting, and motor sports, we will investigate the effects of aerodynamics on baseball.
The three main forces that act on a baseball in flight are the weight, drag, and lift. In an effort to understand how a baseball changes direction we will discuss an additional force called the lift coefficient or Magnus Force. This force is developed by the rotation or spinning of the baseball.
We will discuss several different pitches and how the Magnus force acts on each of the pitches. Additionally we will discuss how this Magnus force can be used in a practical application to aviation Aerodynamics of a Baseball
The study of aerodynamics is the study of the different forces acting on an object and the resulting motion of objects as they fly through the air. Man has been fascinated with aerodynamics and flying for thousands of years, realistically flying has only been possible in the last two centuries, due to the Wright Brothers discovery. Aerodynamics can be explained as the effect the air has on an object or the motion of every object that moves through the air. Examples include kites, jets, birds, and helicopters. Additionally aerodynamics plays a major role in many sports, such as football, tennis, soccer, skiing, baseball, and motorsports; we will investigate the effects of aerodynamics on baseball. The three forces that act on a baseball in flight are the forces weight, drag, and lift. Drag acts in a direction opposite to the motion, and lift acts perpendicular to the motion. Weight is the pull or gravity acting on a...
References: Howstufworks.com (Producer). (2007). Physics of a baseball [Web cast]. Available from http://videos.howstuffworks.com/science-channel/4944-the-physics-of-baseball-flight-of-the-ball-video.htm.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Ed.) (May 2007). Forces on a Baseball. Retrieved from http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/ballforce.html
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