Aerodynamics of a Baseball Essay
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Bryan E. Spears
July 10, 2011
Aerodynamics is known as the study of the different forces acting on an object and the resulting motion of objects as they fly through the air. Today we know that aerodynamics plays a major role in many sports, such as tennis, soccer, hunting, and motor sports, we will investigate the effects of aerodynamics on baseball.
The three main forces that act on a baseball in flight are the weight, drag, and lift. In an effort to understand how a baseball changes direction we will discuss an additional force called the lift coefficient …show more content…
As the ball moves through the air, the air resists the motion of the ball causing friction and this resistance force is called drag. Drag is directly opposed to the flight direction with slight variations for wind. There are many factors that affect the drag force including the shape and size of the object. For a baseball, this is particularly difficult because the leather covering has stitches used to hold the balls together are not uniformly or symmetrically distributed around the ball. Depending on the orientation of the ball in flight, the drag changes as the flow is disturbed by the stitches. The stitches on a baseball introduce some additional complexity in the generation of lift and drag.
Lift is the component of the aerodynamic force that is perpendicular to the flight direction of an object. Airplane wings generate lift to overcome the weight