Calculating The Curveball

We can approximate the Magnus force if we assume that the velocity of the pitch is constant over time. Of course this is not the case but for simplicity we will assume so.  Notice that this example uses empirical units; I choose this connotation because these are the units most commonly used when talking about baseball.

The Magnus force, Fm can be expressed as:


                                                                    Fm = The force, measured in pounds-force

                                                                    K = 2 x 10-6

                                                                    V = The velocity of the ball, measured in mph

                                                                    f = The spin frequency, measured in rpm

                                                                   Cd = The Drag Coefficient. For a baseball,  Cd = 2