24th Applied Aerodynamics Conference 5 - 8 June 2006, San Francisco, California

AIAA 2006-2996

Flow Analysis around Golf Balls without and with Spinning
Hyoung-Chol Kim*, Hyoung-Jin Kim† and Kazuhiro Nakahashi‡ Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, 980-8579 Takuma Kato§ Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, 980-8577 and Masaya Tsunoda¶ SRI Research and Development LTD., Kobe, Japan, 651-0071

Flows fields around stationary and spinning golf balls are numerically simulated solving the compressible Navier-Stokes equations on unstructured grids. Two types of dimple geometries for golf balls are selected with smooth and steep edges. Two flow conditions are 1) Reynolds number of 1.67×105 (Mach number 0.17) at 2400 rpm and 2) Reynolds number of 8.48×104 (Mach number 0.082) at 2070 rpm. These correspond to drive shot flow conditions of a golf ball after shot off and before fall down, respectively. Flow fields for investigation of the effects of flow conditions are visualized with velocity contours, surface flow, separation/reattachment lines, and vortex magnitude contours. Section pressure and streamwise velocity gradient distributions are shown for the effects of dimple geometries. Drag and lift coefficients of numerical simulation and experiment show qualitatively good agreement with each other.



low fields around a golf ball have very interesting and complicated physics. A golf ball usually flies at a Reynolds number around 105, which is near the critical Reynolds number. The drag of a golf ball is about half of that of a smooth sphere because of dimples on the golf ball surface. Meanwhile, near a golf ball surface, dimples play an important role to trigger the boundary layer transition from laminar to turbulent flow. However, mechanisms of the boundary layer transition by the dimples have not been fully understood. Researches on golf ball aerodynamics have been conducted mainly with experiments. Because golf balls fly at high Reynolds numbers with spinning, an experiment is so difficult that there are not sufficient results reported. Bearman and Harvey showed the drag curve of a golf ball against a wide range of Reynolds number using a large spinning model.1 More recently, Smits and Smith measured several aerodynamic properties of a real spinning golf ball and suggested a new aerodynamic model of a golf ball in flight.2 However, in recent years, with a brilliant progress of computer system, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) can be applied to complicated flow fields having unsteadiness and separation phenomena. But the analysis of flow fields with massive separation such as blunt body problems at high Reynolds numbers is still challenging. CFD can be a powerful tool to investigate effects of dimple geometry on the flow field around a golf ball and enable more efficient design process of dimple geometry for less drag and longer flight distances. Kato et al 3 simulated flow fields around a golf ball and presented essential features of the separated flows around a golf ball. On the other hand, in the authors’ previous works4,5,6,7, numerical analysis of flow structures around stationary and spinning dimpled cylinders is conducted showing effects of flow conditions and dimple geometries. Moreover, in Ref. 6, it was confirmed that the vortices are observed not inside but between the dimples because of the effect of spinning of a dimpled cylinder.


* † ‡ § ¶

Graduate Student, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Email: khc1028@ad.mech.tohoku.ac.jp Research Associate, Department of Aerospace Engineering, member AIAA Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, associate fellow AIAA Lecturer, Institute of Fluid Science, member AIAA Assistant Manager, Information Technologies Research Department 1 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Copyright © 2006 by Hyoung-Chol Kim, Tohoku University . Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., with permission.