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Blog Posts Tagged Physics of Sports

Does It Matter Which Ball the FIFA World Cup™ Teams Practiced With?

June 6, 2018

In an attempt to determine what type of soccer ball is best to prepare for the FIFA World Cup™, we set up a backyard experiment involving a leaf blower, level, and a few soccer balls.

Terminal Velocity, Drag Coefficients, and FIFA World Cup™ Predictions

June 1, 2018

Is it possible to predict the winners of the FIFA World Cup™? We forgo consulting a psychic and instead analyze the terminal velocity and drag coefficients of different balls with CFD simulation.

Why Is Ice Slippery Enough for Skiing and Skating?

December 2, 2016

Finding a scientific explanation for why ice is slippery seems simple enough, but it has actually been a subject of debate and confusion for centuries. As part of the world begins to bundle up for a blustery winter, let’s explore the science behind how the slipperiness of ice enables us to ski, skate, and even fall down in the parking lot.

Identify a Cricket Bat’s Sweet Spots with Structural Mechanics Analysis

November 11, 2016

In the highly competitive world of professional cricket, every swing is important. To deliver powerful shots, a batsman needs a well-designed bat and knowledge of how to best use it. One way to improve a player’s batting skills, and perhaps design better bats, is to locate their so-called “sweet spots”. A research team from the University of the West Indies achieved this by performing a structural analysis with the COMSOL Multiphysics® software.

Reaching New Heights in Pole Vaulting: A Multibody Analysis

February 4, 2016

Pole vaulting is one of the most difficult events to master in track and field. Athletes must be able to run fast, be strong enough to elevate their body by holding the pole, and have excellent body control in order to change position while airborne. Analyzing the science behind this sport offers greater insight into the mechanisms that ensure success.

Simulating the Art of Swing Bowling in Cricket

November 5, 2015

Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, but it’s also considered an art. This is seen in the technical abilities required by the batsman to protect his wicket and go on to score runs. It’s also due to the type of bowling used to get the batsman out, which depends on a myriad of physical factors. Here, we investigate one of these techniques — the art of swing bowling.

The Physics of Tennis Racket Sweet Spots

August 27, 2015

Each year, tennis players from around the world compete at the U.S. Open, one of the oldest and largest tennis tournaments. With the 2015 tournament approaching, I found myself reflecting on my own experiences playing tennis, particularly how the feeling you get after hitting the ball is never quite the same. Is this simply a figment of the imagination or is there a physical answer? As I will explain here, so-called “sweet spots” can account for this feeling.

The Physics Behind Baseball Pitches

July 17, 2014

Professional baseball pitchers are able to make a baseball move left, right, down, and even up (sort of) to get it by the opposing batter. The physics behind this can be explained by the Magnus effect.


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