New ball to showcase talent in World Cup

Jun 05, 2014 by Robyn Mills

University of Adelaide physics experts believe the new soccer ball created for the 2014 FIFA World Cup starting next week is a "keepers' ball".

The new , called Brazuca, should be much more predictable than the 2010 World Cup ball, Jabulani, which was less-than-affectionately labelled a 'beach ball' because of its sometimes erratic flight path.

"The Brazuca has very deep grooves – it's much rougher than Jabulani – and this creates a different pattern of around the ball," says Professor Derek Leinweber, Professor of Physics in the University's School of Chemistry and Physics. He has previously written about and lectured on the aerodynamics of cricket balls, golf balls and earlier World Cup soccer balls.

"The Jabulani was much smoother than the Brazuca with smaller grooves and ridges across its surface," says Professor Leinweber. "That meant the ball had to be moving much faster before the airflow around the ball changed from smooth to turbulent. As this shift to turbulent airflow occurred at high speeds, the ball could make some pretty erratic movements on the way to the net.

"In contrast the Brazuca, with its deeper grooves, hits that turbulent air flow at a lower speed with the result that the ball is much more predictable. In many ways, it's a return to the aerodynamics of the old 32-panel ball."

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Professor Leinweber and PhD candidate Adrian Kiratidis have been investigating the likely performance of the new ball by matching up the of air flow with available wind tunnel data and video of the ball's movement.

Mr Kiratidis says he believes players taking hard and fast shots in this World Cup won't find the Brazuca as easy to bend into the net as they did with the Jabulani.

"Keepers facing players of the calibre of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar are going to be glad that it's Brazuca coming at them rather than Jabulani," he says.

Explore further: Physicists test aerodynamics of soccer ball types prior to World Cup (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How will the 2014 World Cup ball swerve?

Mar 05, 2014

There are now only a few months to go until the biggest sporting event of 2014 – the FIFA World Cup in Brazil – and questions are being asked. Will the stadiums be ready? Are the airports ready for the crowds? ...

Recommended for you

Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

Dec 17, 2014

The three prisoners who escaped from Alcatraz in one of the most famous and elaborate prison breaks in U.S. history could have survived and made it to land, scientists concluded in a recent study.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.