Wiffle ball aerodynamics
Using a wind tunnel, scientists at Lafayette College recently discovered just what throws Wiffle ball batters for a loop. Their conclusion: The shifting forces inside and outside the ball cause the sixty-year-old invention to dip, duck and dive.
As part of their annual How it Works issue, Popular Science assigned me the task of visually explaining the aerodynamics behind the beloved Wiffle ball. A cutaway recreation of the wind tunnel study clearly presents the airflow through and around the ball. Secondary art included vector graphics illustrating how to throw a Wiffle knuckleball and three ways to “hack” your ball to cause even bigger batter headaches.
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