24 Jun 2010

Tests on World Cup football inconclusive

2:53 pm on 24 June 2010

Aerospace engineers at the California Institute of Technology have been wind tunnel testing the controversial new Jabulani ball from the football World Cup.

The debate over the unpredictability of the ball compared to a traditional ball prompted the tests.

The two balls were put into the a wind tunnel and and exposed to wind speeds of about 10 metres per second.

The result was a draw.

Caltech assistant professor of aeronautics Beverley McKeon says it's difficult to say which ball was better but she noted the Jabulani's smoothness could create less drag and therefore less predictable movement.

Created by Adidas, the Jabulani is seamless and so has a smoother surface, while the old ball has deeper grooves between the panels, creating a more turbulent airflow but more predictabiliy in its trajectory.