STEM in Sports – The Tennis Ball
The fuzz on a tennis ball can be a real aerodynamic drag,
but that’s not a bad thing.
Gravity and the flow of air that surround a tennis ball determine its trajectory, or flight. Like a boat moving through water, a ball moving through the air leaves a wake behind it. The larger the wake, the more drag on the ball and the slower the ball moves. The felt surface of a tennis ball helps a player control the ball’s lift and drag, and the way high-speed shots hit their racket. The “fuzzy” surface helps control the bounce, speed and lift on shots, making it easier to return a serve.