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Problem Statement

Subject : Document No: Physics MAP 2142/ACT/01/Rev00/Jul10 Code: Duratio n: MAP 2142 1h Semeste r: 1

ACTIVITY 1 PHYSICS OF A SOCCER BALL Aerodynamics of sports balls The first explanation of the lateral deflection of a spinning object was credited by Lord Rayleigh to work done by the German physicist Gustav Magnus in 1852. Magnus had actually been trying to determine why spinning shells and bullets deflect to one side, but his explanation applies equally well to balls. Indeed, the fundamental mechanism of a curving ball in football is almost the same as in other sports such as baseball, golf, cricket and tennis. Consider a ball that is spinning about an axis perpendicular to the flow of air across it (see left). The air travels faster relative to the center of the ball where the periphery of the ball is moving in the same direction as the airflow. This reduces the pressure, according to Bernouilli's principle. The opposite effect happens on the other Spinning ball side of the ball, where the air travels slower relative to the center of the ball. There is therefore an imbalance in the forces and the ball deflects - or, as Sir J J Thomson put it in 1910, "the ball follows its nose". This lateral deflection of a ball in flight is generally known as the "Magnus effect". The forces on a spinning ball that is flying through the air are generally divided into two types: a lift force and a drag force. The lift force is the upwards or sidewards force that is responsible for the Magnus effect. The drag force acts in the opposite direction to the path of the ball. Let us calculate the forces at work in a well taken free kick. Assuming that the velocity of the ball is 25-30 ms-1 (about 70 mph) and that the spin is about 8-10 revolutions per second, then the lift force turns out to be about 3.5 N. The regulations state that a professional football must have a mass of 410-450 g, which means that it accelerates by about 8 ms-2. And since the ball would be in flight for 1 s over its 30 m trajectory, the lift force could make the ball deviate by as much as 4 m from its normal straight-line course. Enough to trouble any goalkeeper!

Problem Statement
Subject : Document No: Physics MAP 2142/ACT/01/Rev00/Jul10 Code: Duratio n: MAP 2142 1h Semeste r: 1

The drag force, FD, on a ball increases with the square of the velocity, v, assuming that the density, r, of the ball and its cross-sectional area, A, remain unchanged: FD = CDrAv2/2. It appears, however, that the "drag coefficient", CD, also depends on the velocity of the ball. For example, if we plot the drag coefficient against Reynold's number - a non-dimensional parameter equal to rv D /µ, where D is the Physical drag diameter of the ball and µ is the kinematic viscosity of the air - we find that the drag coefficient drops suddenly when the airflow at the surface of the ball changes from being smooth and laminar to being turbulent (see right).

Turbulent air & drag

When the airflow is laminar and the drag coefficient is high, the boundary layer of air on the surface of the ball "separates" relatively early as it flows over the ball, producing vortices in its wake. However, when the airflow is turbulent, the boundary layer sticks to the ball for longer. This produces late separation and a small drag.

The Reynold's number at which the drag coefficient drops therefore depends on the surface roughness of the ball. For example, golf balls, which are heavily dimpled, have quite a high surface roughness and the drag coefficient drops at a relatively low Reynold's number ( 2 x 104). A football, however, is smoother than a golf ball and the critical transition is reached at a much higher Reynold's number (4 x 105) .

The upshot of all of this is that a slow-moving football experiences a relatively high retarding force. But if you can hit the ball fast enough so that the airflow over it is turbulent, the ball experiences a small retarding force (see right). A fast-moving football is therefore double trouble for a goalkeeper hoping to Drag vs speed make a save - not only is the ball moving at high speed, it also does not slow down as much as might be expected. Perhaps the best goalkeepers intuitively understand more physics than they realize.

Problem Statement
Subject : Document No: Physics MAP 2142/ACT/01/Rev00/Jul10 Code: Duratio n: MAP 2142 1h Semeste r: 1

In 1976 Peter Bearman and colleagues from Imperial College, London, carried out a classic series of experiments on golf balls. They found that increasing the spin on a ball produced a higher lift coefficient and hence a bigger Magnus force. However, increasing the velocity at a given spin reduced the lift coefficient. What this means for a football is that a slow-moving ball with a lot of spin will have a larger sideways force than a fast-moving ball with the same spin. So as a ball slows down at the end of its trajectory, the curve becomes more pronounced. This article is taken from http://www.soccerballworld.com/Physics.htm

Instruction 1. Work in group. 2. Select a leader. 3. Select a person to read the article aloud in front of the group. 4. Member of the group must list down all the physical quantities and their units mentioned in the article. 5. Try to explain the meaning/definition of the physical quantities listed.

Duration: 1 hour (SCL) 1 hour (TCL)