Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
    5
  • comments
    9
  • views
    6,169

Physics of Baseball: The Flight of a Ball

redsoxnation18

1,324 views

blog-0902715001367605081.pngFrom the projectile motion unit of physics class, i learned that a smooth ball has forces acting on it as it passes through the air: Gravity and the force of friction, air resistance. A baseball, on the otherhand has laces so the forces act a bit different. The baseball still has the force of gravity acting on it, although because of the laces the air resistance is more affective known as "Drag".

blogentry-1-0-34587700-1367605544_thumb.

Drag has a very lage influece on a baseball. if the ball were to be thrown or hit in a vacume, there would be no drag, so the path of the ball would be a perfect parobolic shape. Although as all baseball players know, there is not a perfect parobolic shape. The drag slows down the ball in the air and, as seen in the graph above, the ball slows down and finishes its path earlier than predicted. Drag also affects a pitcher. When pitching the ball, drag can slow the ball 8-10 miles per hour in the 60 feet it travels.

On a spinning baseball, there is also a force acting on it known as the "Magnus" force. The magnus force describes the about of airflow past a spinning ball. For example, many people have questioned if a fastball can rise. And the answer to that is yes, only if the upward magnus force is greater than the force of gravity on the ball. Although this may not be possible for a human to preform. If you were to use a foam ball, and apply backspin on the ball, or an upward magnus force, then the ball will significantly rise. This video at 42:20 minutes explains and shows most of what i have said.

Finally, i have always been very curious to why a knuckleball dances. And for many years, even physicists have been baffled to why the knuckleball moves the way it does. This website, http://accessscience.com/studycenter.aspx?main=17&questionID=5579, explains well why the knuckleball dances. What i have found is that this occures because it doesnt spin as much. Because of the lack of spin, the laces create air pockets of low preasure around the ball. When the air rushes into the pockets, it pushes the ball into different directions making it "dance".



1 Comment


Recommended Comments

My brother was a knuckleballer... pain in the butt to hit.  Even worse to catch!  Unfortunately, some days it worked great, others it just sorta hung there.  VERY finicky.  I wonder what the difference was between the good days and bad days?

Share this comment


Link to comment
Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

×
×
  • Create New...