How much kinetic energy is required to propel a football through the air?
Theoretically, a football can go anywhere in the world in an instant, but in practice, it has to be propelled with the force of a jet of water at up to 2,000 metres per second.
To calculate the kinetic energy required to move a football with that force, researchers at the University of Texas in Austin used a theoretical model of the motion of water to determine the exact amount of kinetic energy needed.
The result is a useful calculator for measuring the energy required for a football to travel an absolute distance, as well as for estimating the energy needed to propel an object through the atmosphere.
To get the numbers for the kinetic energies required to accelerate a football across the Atlantic Ocean, researchers used data from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Earth Science Data Facility (ESDF).
The first step was to calculate the speed of water, which is related to the force exerted on a football.
In order to estimate the force required to change direction in a straight line, researchers needed to take the average speed of the water over the course of the day.
To obtain the average velocity over a day, they multiplied the speed by the length of the average day.
That allowed them to calculate how much energy is needed to change a football’s direction by changing the direction of the wind.
To convert the velocity over the day into a kinetic energy value, researchers looked at the change in the average direction of wind in the last 24 hours.
The results were not quite what you might expect.
To put it in perspective, the average wind direction was about 90 degrees from the west, and about 30 degrees from east.
The researchers calculated the kinetic force to move the football over the Atlantic to be about 1,600 watts.
That’s roughly equal to the energy of about 4,700 American footballs.
The amount of energy required depends on the speed and direction of a football, as shown in the graphic.
In the image below, the blue arrow points to the direction the wind is blowing at the time of the measurement.
This was taken at a speed of about 40 kilometres per hour (25 miles per hour), but the actual speed is probably higher.
However, the researchers note that if you assume that the wind direction is the same for every direction, it means the energy will be roughly the same in both directions.
To find out how much kinetic force is needed for a specific direction, the team ran the simulation on a computer using the data from ESDF.
They used data that was captured during the previous night, which was the best data available.
The simulated football, which has a length of about 2.4 metres (7.4 feet), was placed in the Atlantic at a location on Earth where the wind was blowing in a southerly direction.
The team measured the direction and speed of wind during that time.
They then measured the kinetic forces on the football as it changed direction.
To figure out how many times the wind changed direction, they calculated the difference between the direction they measured and the direction that the data had captured.
The energy required was about 1.7 million watts.
This is enough to move an object about 8 kilometres (5.6 miles) across the ocean.
That would be equivalent to moving a football about 1 kilometre (0.7 mile) a second.
The kinetic energy of a soccer is a little lower than that, at a little more than 500,000 watts.
It would take around 6,000 American football cars to move 4 kilometres (2.6 feet) a day.
The research paper is published in the journal Nature Communications.