Fluid Mechanics In Sport

Bernouli sailing

Fluid mechanics or fluid dynamics comes into sport a lot and covers air resistance, drag, projectiles, spin on balls and Bernoulli principle and lift force.


Spin is created by applying a force which is off centre to the object being thrown (or kicked) at the point of release. The effects of spin are important in all ball sports and throwing events. The Magnus effect explains why the paths of balls deviate from normal flight path.


A projectile is anybody which is thrown or jumped into the air. Once it has left the ground it will follow a flight path called a parabola until it once more comes back down to earth. This applies to balls, javelins, discus, long jumpers, high jumpers and horses show jumping. As far as we …

Bernoulli Principle

The Bernoulli principle explains why aeroplanes fly and racing cars stick to the ground going around corners when they really shouldn’t. It is to do with lift force and downforce created when air flows over an aerofoil. The Dutch-Swiss mathematician, Daniel Bernoulli, discovered that where there is an increase in the velocity of fluid there …

Air Resistance and Drag

Air resistance is a frictional force which occurs when air passes over the surface of a body. This frictional force is not just limited to air though and it applies in fluids, usually water in a sporting situation. Air resistance, drag, and fluid resistance mean the same thing. Four things affect the amount of air resistance; …

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