It was exciting to see the flow around a ball in flight experiencing this effect. We spent one day on it and were lucky to get the result we did. The day answered one basic question: is a laminar express different from a standard 2-seamer due to a somewhat forward-facing smooth side? Answer, yes, absolutely.
That leaves a lot of important practical questions. Some of these were brought up in comments on the previous post.
- How does velocity effect the pitch? Is the pressure force dependent on speed? In practice, this pitch is thrown much harder (95 mph) than our tests (60 mph).
- What is the optimal ball orientation?
- Could this be done to a curve ball? Get going, fellas. I’m sure it would work, but can you throw it?
- Can this same effect explain break in both directions which we see in MLB video (send me examples if you see them!)
- How much does the effect depend on the model of baseball (MLB, MiLB, NCAA, raised-seam high school balls)?
- How much sideways force is created and how does it compare to Magnus (one data point was provided earlier by Alan Nathan indicating the pressure force was double Magnus)
Many of these are difficult to answer due to our low data rate. USU must find a way to make our system more flexible in terms of the ball’s location. We have some ideas.