Aerodynamics of Baseball
a curveball curve?
how far a batted ball will travel?
How do weather conditions change the flight of a baseball?
How does location determine if a field
is a "hitters" or a "batters" park?
is known for
we love to solve more
down-to-earth problems too. Many
researchers are big fans of America's
pastime too! Our researchers have
taken computer applications designed to study and teach the aerodynamics of
airplanes and rockets and applied the equations to baseball.
Factor in the location and the weather
and you have the perfect tools to have fun learning about baseball!
We've put these programs online so you can "play ball" with your
"thinking cap" on in place of your baseball cap.
You can do this in school, at home, or
anywhere you have a computer connected to the Web.
Aerodynamics is the study
of forces and the resulting motion of objects
as they fly through the air.
Judging from the story of Daedalus and Icarus, humans have
been interested in aerodynamics and flying for thousands of years,
although flying in a heavier-than-air machine
has been possible only in the last hundred years, thanks to the
Aerodynamics affects the motion of every object that moves through the air, including
While aerodynamics plays a major role in many sports, such as golf, football, ski-jumping, and automobile
racing, this web site investigates the effects of aerodynamics on baseball.
software you can study how a big league pitcher throws a curveball by changing
the values of the factors that affect the aerodynamic forces on the ball.
Values include the pitch speed, the wind and the weather conditions.
These are the same forces that generate
the lift of an aircraft wing.
We added the spin of the baseball for left-handed and right-handed pitchers plus
a few mechanics to give you a chance to see how it all comes together.
We have recently (May, 2012) upgraded the software to include fast pitch and slow pitch softball
as well as baseball. While the basic aerodynamic forces are the same, the size of the ball
and the size of the forces are different on a softball than on a hardball, resulting in
different flight characteristics. We have also included an option
to allow you to describe any ball by inputting the weight, diameter, and drag coefficient.
During the World Series of 1995, astronauts orbiting the Earth on the Space
Shuttle Columbia threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 5,
in Cleveland. You can learn more about this event at
software, you can study how far a ball will
travel after it is hit by a bat by changing the values of the factors that
affect the aerodynamic forces on the ball. Values include the
"launch" angle, the speed, wind and weather conditions.
These are the same forces that determine
how far a rocket will travel after launch.
There is a
of HitModeler that only considers the effects of weather on a batted ball.
After you study baseball and softball from all the angles,
you can move on and explore the
Tom Benson displaying the science behind baseball on the Jumbo-Tron at
Jacob's Field before the May 18, 2007 game between
the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins.
Here is an index of all the web pages related to the aerodynamics of baseballs:
CurveBall Student Interactive Simulator
CurveBall Expert Interactive Simulator
HitModeler Interactive Simulator
HitModeler Weather Interactive Simulator
Forces on a Baseball
Ideal Flow Around Spinning Ball ..Interactive**
Ideal Lift on Spinning Ball ..Interactive**
Drag on a Sphere ..Animated**
Lift of a Baseball
Drag on a Baseball
Ballistic Flight ..Interactive**
Flight with Drag..Interactive**
Fly Ball Results
Ballisitic Flight Calculator
- Beginner's Guide Home Page