Phenomena

The Telstar 18

The Telstar 18 football used in the 2018 World Cup

Every four years, Adidas creates a newly designed ball for the World Cup. This year’s version is the Telstar 18, which features six glued panels (no stitching!) with a slightly raised texture. That subtle roughness is an important feature for the ball’s aerodynamics. It helps ensure that flow around the ball will become turbulent at relatively low speeds. Some previous designs, notably the 2010 Jabulani, were so smooth that flow near the ball would not become turbulent until much higher speeds. In fact, one side of the ball might have laminar flow while the other was turbulent, causing the ball to wobble and misbehave. To learn more about World Cup aerodynamics and the importance of a little surface roughness to the ball’s behavior, check out the Physics Girl video below.    (Image credit: Adidas; via APS News; video credit: Physics Girl)

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