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This study consisted of two fundamental experiments that examined the effects of surface parameters on baseball aerodynamics. The first experiment measured drag and lift coefficients in response to varied surface treatments of a non-spinning baseball. This experiment found that rougher

This study consisted of two fundamental experiments that examined the effects of surface parameters on baseball aerodynamics. The first experiment measured drag and lift coefficients in response to varied surface treatments of a non-spinning baseball. This experiment found that rougher surfaces (rubbing mud, increased ball usage, and scuffing) decrease drag coefficient by up to 0.05 for Reynolds numbers of up to 1.5x105 (wind speeds of 30 m/s or 67 mph). The maximum observed increase in lift coefficient was 0.20, caused by heavily scuffing the top of the ball. These results can be explained by boundary layer transition phenomena and asymmetry in the surface roughness of the ball. A decrease in drag coefficient of 0.05 can translate to an increase in the flight distance of a batted ball by as much as 50 ft (14%), and an increase of 0.20 in lift coefficient can increase flight distance by 70 ft (19%) \u2014 numbers that can easily mean the difference between a routine fly out and a monster home run. The second experiment measured drag and lift coefficients in response to varied stitch geometries of a non-spinning, 3D-printed baseball. Increasing stitch height, width, and spacing was found to increase drag coefficient, while increasing stitch length had little effect on lift coefficient. Increasing any parameter of the stitch geometry was found to increase lift coefficient. These results can be explained by boundary layer transition phenomena, blockage effects, and asymmetry in the stitch geometry of the ball. Future work would do well to repeat these experiments with a larger wind tunnel and a more sensitive force balance. These results should also be validated at higher wind speeds, and for spinning, rather than stationary baseballs. In addition, future work should explore the degree to which surface roughness and stitch geometry affect drag and lift coefficients at different ball orientations.

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Details

Title
  • The Dirt on Dirty Baseballs: How Surface Parameters Affect Baseball Aerodynamics
Contributors
Date Created
2016-05
Resource Type
  • Text
  • Machine-readable links