After a surgery, we are concerned about those ugly stitches.In sports,baseball stitches are more than beneficial. You have already learned that a baseball with stitches fly further than a smooth ball. It’s time to find out why?
During the flight, a thin layer of air is caught between the raised stitches. The air can easily flow around this boundary layer when the ball speed is low. At a higher speed, the boundary layer itself is disturbed and this stops the widening of the wake and causes it to narrow. The immediate cause is the reduction of the drag (air resistance).The same phenomenon occurs with a smooth ball to but only at very high speeds (over 150 mph).In consequence, those ugly stitches help the baseball to go further.
To recap there are three stages in a baseball flight:
-under 50 mph: low drag
-above 50mph: drag increase
-around 120 mph: drag decrease
-over 150mph:drag increase again
How about throwing a curve ball. Is this an optical illusion or not?
In 1853 Gustav Magnus published a scientific article in which he described the forces applied to a moving ball. Since than, one of these forces was called the
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