05 December 2013

The Brazuca ball is here!

A couple of days ago, Adidas unveiled the ball that will be used in the 2014 World Cup.  Fans voted last year to name the ball Brazuca.  Check out the colorful ball below (click on the image for a larger view).  The image is a cropped version of an image found at Footy-Boots.
For closer views of the ball, check out more images over at Footy-Boots.

As a sports physicist, I am intrigued by the six thermally-bonded textured panels.  Recall that the Jabulani ball used in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup had eight thermally-bonded textured panels.  The 2006 World Cup in Germany employed the Teamgeist ball, which was the first World Cup ball that did not have 32 panels.  The Teamgeist ball had 14 thermally-bonded panels, but those panels were not textured.

As panel number decreases, textures have to be added if the ball is to have aerodynamic properties similar to balls with more panels.  Making balls smoother with fewer panels leads, perhaps counterintuitively, to larger air drag.  Adding textures to the panels roughens the ball's surface and reduces air drag.  The idea is to add enough texturing to the panels to compensate for the fewer seams when panel number is reduced.  No two World Cup balls have the same aerodynamics properties.  It will be interesting to hear what players have to say about the ball after early World Cup matches.  There always seems to be some whingeing.  Just look back at the start of the 2010 World Cup!

There are 189 days before the 2014 World Cup begins.  I can't wait!

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