A study of aerodynamic drag of American footballs

Alam, F, Smith, S, Djamovski, V, Mainuddin, G, Yang, J, Ehsan, S and Kumar, A 2011, 'A study of aerodynamic drag of American footballs', in Prof Mohammad Ali (ed.) International Conference on Mechanical Engineering (ICME2011), Dhaka, Bangladesh, 18 - 20 December 2011, pp. 1-6.

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title A study of aerodynamic drag of American footballs
Author(s) Alam, F
Smith, S
Djamovski, V
Mainuddin, G
Yang, J
Ehsan, S
Kumar, A
Year 2011
Conference name International Conference on Mechanical Engineering
Conference location Dhaka, Bangladesh
Conference dates 18 - 20 December 2011
Proceedings title International Conference on Mechanical Engineering (ICME2011)
Editor(s) Prof Mohammad Ali
Publisher BUET
Place of publication Dhaka, Bangladesh
Start page 1
End page 6
Total pages 6
Abstract American football is one of the most popular sports in North America. It is enjoyed both by participants and spectators. The centre piece of the games is the oval shaped ball. The flight trajectory of an American football largely depends on its aerodynamic characteristics. Despite the popularity of the game, it appears that scant information on the aerodynamic force experienced by an American football is available in the open literature. Although attempts were made to construct the flight trajectory of the ball, without knowing the aerodynamic drag coefficient, it is hard to build such a model. The shape of an American football is similar to that of an ellipsoid. It has more pointed ends and rough surfaces. The ball used in college level teams possesses a pair of seams at the pointed ends. This makes the airflow around the ball even more complex. The primary purpose of this study is to experimentally measure the aerodynamic forces of American footballs used at professional and college levels under a range of wind speeds and yaw angles. The non-deimensional drag coefficient were estimated and compared. The results indicate that the American footballs possess drag coefficient close to that of other oval shaped balls such as Rugby and Australian rule footballs.
Subjects Mechanical Engineering not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) American football
wind tunnel
yaw angle
flow visualisation
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