How much does the air pressure within a football matter?

Essay by braddachap2High School, 11th gradeA-, May 2009

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The air pressure within a football can make a considerable difference to the distance traveled and flight time of a ball. Air pressure is a vital aspect when considering distance traveled and flight time of a ball. If the force that is being applied to the ball remains constant, and the air pressure within the ball is the variable then we are able to draw a conclusion of how much difference the air pressure makes.

If the air pressure within a ball is increased, then the gas within the ball becomes more elastic. Elasticity enables an object to release energy that is received during a collision. This is called an elastic collision. When the ball is kicked, the gas within the ball compresses and then expands, and some heat and sound will also be generated. Therefore, the more pressure of the gas within the ball, the more efficient the compression and expansion of the gas becomes.

However, with a slightly deflated ball there is less elasticity, so instead, the ball will absorb most of the force from the kick just by becoming deformed. Before an Australian Football League game, each football used is inflated to 62 - 76 kPa. This is used as the regulation air pressure of a football for the AFL. Studies conducted by Dan Whiteman, a 14 year old boy, have shown that a ball inflated to any pressure under or over the recommended pressure will decrease the distance that the football will travel through the air. This same theory also applies toward the bouncing of balls. The more pressure that is held within the ball, then the higher that the ball will bounce when compared to a deflated ball.

The air pressure within a football can play a much greater role if the ball...