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The Element of Curve Explained



There is a video from awhile back that always makes me think about how good some soccer players really are. One skill that I believe exhibits complete mastery is curving or "bending" a soccer ball from a stationary free kick (at rest). Obviously this is not just some weird thing that happens, there must be a reason that physics can explain behind it. Upon further research there is; it is called the "Magnus Effect." This is done when either a clockwise or counter-clockwise spin is imparted on the ball. In the example below, the player hits the ball with a counter-clockwise spin, creating a small air field around it that travels in the same direction. As it goes through the air there is air resistance that is exerted on the front of the ball, slowing it down, and a force on either side of this air around the ball. the air that strikes the right side of the ball is slowed down by the counter-clockwise spin of the ball and it's effect on the ball is decreased in magnitude. The force of air on the left side is tangent to the circular path of air around the ball, so there is an added spin to the ball. This pushes the air off to the right and because Newton's laws say two objects exert equal and opposite forces, the ball will push off to the left, resulting in something like the videos below.






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