[1710.02784] An Aerodynamic Analysis of Recent FIFA World Cup Balls

(Submitted on 8 Oct 2017 ( v1 ), last revised 18 Feb 2018 (this version, v2))
Abstract: Drag and lift coefficients of recent FIFA world cup balls are examined. We fit a novel functional form to drag coefficient curves and in the absence of empirical data provide estimates of lift coefficient behaviour via a consideration of the physics of the boundary layer. Differences in both these coefficients for recent balls, which result from surface texture modification, can significantly alter trajectories. Numerical simulations are used to quantify the effect these changes have on the flight paths of various balls. Altitude and temperature variations at recent world cup events are also discussed. We conclude by quantifying the influence these variations have on the three most recent world cup balls, the Brazuca, the Jabulani and the Teamgeist. While our paper presents findings of interest to the professional sports scientist, it remains accessible to students at the undergraduate level.

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