The fact behind flying basketball

Many of us play basketball. But do you know in certain situation basketball play with us?

Welcome to Engineering Master. In this article, we will see how a spinning basketball flies in the air when we throw it from a height…

Basketball, when dropped down from a height, gets pushed a bit due to air. It lands right below where it was dropped. But what happens when it is dropped with a backspin?



The basketball starts flying with air flow. First let us understand how it works.

When the basketball dropped with a backspin, it picks up speed. Air on the front side of the ball starts rotating it in the same direction. Air on the other side is moving opposite to the ball spin, so the flow separates from the ball instead of getting deflected. Hence the ball pushes air one way and the air applies equal force on the ball. This is called Magnus effect.

Magnus effect affects all rotating balls or cylinders as they fly through the air. Magnus effect finds its application in many places like in ships to deflect crosswinds and in airplanes to get more lift. This effect is very important in sports like tennis, soccer and golf.



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