Designing a better soccer ball

If you don't follow the World Cup closely, it may come as a surprise to you that there is a soccer ball designed specially for each competition. I admit this sounds a bit strange to my ear. It is a little like creating a special baseball for the major league playoffs. But what do I know.

Anyway, recently shed some light on this year's design:

"While the governing body FIFA has strict regulations on the size and weight of the balls, they have no regulations about the outside surface of the balls," says Professor Derek Leinweber, Head of the School of Chemistry & Physics at the University of Adelaide.

"The Teamgeist (the last World Cup ball) was a big departure at the last World Cup. Because it was very smooth - much smoother than a regular soccer ball - it had a tendency to bend more than the conventional ball and drop more suddenly at the end of its trajectory.

"By comparison, the aerodynamic ridges on the Jabulani (this year's design) are likely to create enough turbulence around the ball to sustain its flight longer, and be a faster, harder ball in play.

You can catch up on the efforts at creating a new World Cup soccer ball design at the site:

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