Fluid Mechanics In Sport

Bernouli sailing

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



Spin is created by applying a force that 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 the normal flight paths.


A projectile is anybody who 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 horse showjumping.

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.

Air Resistance and Drag

Air resistance is a frictional force that occurs when air passes over the surface of a body. This frictional force is not just limited to air though and it applies to fluids, usual water in a sporting situation. Air resistance, drag, and fluid resistance mean the same thing.

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