Baseball Drag Measurements in Free Flight

Lloyd Smith, A. Sciacchitano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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While baseball is a popular sport with a storied history, the aerodynamic properties of the seamed sports ball are not fully understood. Reported aerodynamic baseball behaviors are primarily based on force measurements from wind tunnels. The following describes a methodology to measure baseball drag in free flight from changes in its speed. The method relies on a high accuracy ball delivery device and speed measurement system. It avoids the large infrastructure, stinger attachment and blockage effects associated with wind tunnels. In the present work, we examined the baseball drag as a function of orientation and with spin. The drag values retrieved from the proposed method are in good agreement with radar and video measurements. However, they are lower than those reported in other wind tunnel measurements, which was attributed to differences in the balls that were tested or the stinger attachment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1416
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • baseball aerodynamics
  • aerodynamic drag measurements
  • free-flight aerodynamics
  • Aerodynamic drag measurements
  • Free-flight aerodynamics
  • Baseball aerodynamics


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