The aerodynamics of a soccer ball are simple, but the combination of forces and variables has to be right to make the ball trajectory bend and trick a goalkeeper. "Once the ball has been kicked and is traveling through the air, there are really very few forces acting on the ball," said mechanical engineer Anette (Peko) Hosoi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
While aerodynamics plays a major role in many sports, such as golf, baseball, ski-jumping, and automobile racing, this web site investigates the effects of aerodynamics on soccer. With the SoccerNASA software you can study how a soccer player "bends" the ball and makes it curve through the air by changing the values of the factors that affect the aerodynamic forces on the ball.
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Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and trajectory simulations are then combined to assess the erratic nature of different soccer ball designs, including the 2006 World Cup ball. It is found that both the lift and side force coefficients on a low- or non-spinning soccer ball vary significantly with orientation, which can result in varying erratic trajectories.
One previous study on the aerodynamic factors affecting soccer balls was based on wind-tunnel experiments, and it determined the coefficients of drag, side-force, and lifting force of many balls ...
In addition, the Re crit values of the soccer balls were lower than those of smooth spheres, ranging from ∼ 3.5 × 10 5 to 4.0 × 10 5, due to the effects of their panels. This indicated that the aerodynamic properties of a soccer ball were intermediate between those of a smooth ball and a golf ball.
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Asai et al. Fundamental aerodynamics of the soccer ball 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 100 000 600 000 Reynolds number (Re) C d (Smooth sphere in experiment) Drag coefficient (C d)
S. Barber, S.J. Haake, M.J. Carré, Using CFD to understand the effects of seam geometry on soccer ball aerodynamics, The Engineering of Sport 6, Vol. 2, pp. 127–132.
Speaking of overall aerodynamics and performance capabilities, this indoor soccer ball is a little bit faster inside than the Mikasa we just mentioned a moment ago – but that’s because it has a smooth, hidden cover surface as opposed to the felt surface above option.