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Math Help - Curveballs In Space

  1. #1
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    Curveballs In Space

    From wikipedia: "a curveball, thrown with topspin, creates a high-pressure zone on top of the ball, which deflects the ball downward in flight. Instead of counteracting gravity, the curveball adds additional downward force, thereby gives the ball an exaggerated drop in flight."


    I was wondering if anyone could think up the mechanism and action of a curveball (baseball) thrown in 0 gravity and 1 atmospheric space?


    My guess: It would travel in a spiral inward and lose all rotation and movement at the center.


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  2. #2
    A Plied Mathematician
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    Re: Curveballs In Space

    I think you're right about the general shape of the curve; however, I don't think the ball would make it all the way to the "center" of the spiral. Reason: resistance to rotation and resistance to tangential motion. Any physical ball has an irregular surface upon which molecules of air will impinge, always resisting the direction of motion. Since the "top" part of the ball will be moving faster relative to the air than the "bottom" part of the ball, the resistance to rotation will be greater there, hence reducing the rotation. And of course, with 1 atmosphere of air present, there will be air resistance pushing against the tangential velocity of the ball. So I think you might start in on your spiral, but I don't think you'd get to the center.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Curveballs In Space

    Quote Originally Posted by Stro View Post
    From wikipedia: "a curveball, thrown with topspin, creates a high-pressure zone on top of the ball, which deflects the ball downward in flight. Instead of counteracting gravity, the curveball adds additional downward force, thereby gives the ball an exaggerated drop in flight."

    I was wondering if anyone could think up the mechanism and action of a curveball (baseball) thrown in 0 gravity and 1 atmospheric space?

    My guess: It would travel in a spiral inward and lose all rotation and movement at the center.
    For additional and more basic research have a look here:

    Magnus effect - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Rotor ship - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Anton Flettner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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