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maurik boterenbrood

on 12 December 2013

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Issues with previous balls
Adidas's Solution
Maurik Boterenbrood

Why was this ball special
The Jabulani was the first of its kind to only have a TPU construction of just eight panels offering 70% larger striking surface due to no seeming.
Was the first football to ever use thermal bonding making the ball seamless and almost perfectly spherical.
First football to use dimples on its surface to enhance grip
The world cup is one of the most popular sporting events worldwide with 3.2 billion people tuning in to watch the tournament in 2010.
The relationship between Adidas and Fifa dates back to over 40 years. Since the world cup in 1970 Adidas has supplied the official match balls for the tournament.
Every year Adidas aims to create new and innovative technology to design the perfect ball.
The ball includes new designs and technology for every individual world cup making it one of the true icons of every world cup.
History of the world cup and its footballs
In 2010 the World Cup was hosted in South Africa
Therefore for this world cup Adidas had create and innovated a special football, the first of its kind.
This ball was named the "Jabulani" meaning joy in Zulu
2010 World Cup:
South Africa
With the past world cup ball the 'Teamgeist', many players complained that the ball's faulty aerodynamics caused for the ball paths to become erratic. This was known as the "Knuckle ball effect".
To remove this fault from the previous world cup ball Adidas began to design the next world cup ball differently.
The main elements determining the trajectory of a ball in flight are the amount of force applied to the ball before flight, shape and surface of the ball, spin, drag pressure, gravity and air pressure.
Adidas believed that in order to remove this erratic behavior for the next ball, they would have to control these factors in order to allow the ball to have a stable flight.
Aerodynamics of a football
Pressure Drag
: When a ball is in flight pressure drag is evident which refers to the the air flow over the ball.In flight the separation of air is evident towards the back of the ball creating turbulence which then causes for high and low pressure air to leave a wake behind the ball. This causes for a net negative pressure behind the ball consequently slowing the ball down. This type of drag is dependent on the shape and form of the ball.
Skin Friction
: When a ball is in flight skin friction is evident. Skin friction drag is caused by the contact of air particles against the surface of the ball. When a traditional panel is molded to create the spherical shape of a ball, the top half of the panel experiences tension when the other side experiences compression. This causes for small deformations on either side of the material further distorting the surface. These deformations are on an very small scale but they drastically affects the airflow over the ball. This type of drag is dependent on the shape and form of the ball.
These two factors affecting the trajectory of the ball are what Adidas believed to have caused the knuckle affect therefore they focused on the surface of the ball the most.

Their solution
Adidas believed that it was these two types of drag that caused these erratic flight trajectories therefore by developing the surface of the new football, that the issue would then be removed.
To do this Adidas used 3D molded panels instead of traditional flat panels that are then fit to make a round surface. Since the Jabulani utilities 3D panels, no bending of the panels is evident preventing the deformation of the surface causing for less skin friction drag.
Adidas thought that by making the ball smoother, this would eliminate turbulence caused by these imperfections allowing for a hyperbolic trajectory.
To further develop and improve surface smoothness Adidas used the method of thermally bonding these 8 panels rather than stitching.
This was done because stitching can further disrupt smooth air flow over the ball and aggravate the turbulence already evident during flight.
These physical changes to the surface of the Jabulani caused for the ball to be significantly smoother than the previous Teamgeist. This allowed for the ball to have a better touch, higher rolling consistency but Adidas thought that this would solve the inconsistency during flight.
The reality of smoothness
The reality is that the balls with the best trajectory are those with dense, uniform seam patterns which yields a relatively rough surface. This allows for the airflow around the ball to become turbulent more or less as the same time resulting in less differentials in air pressure causing for a smoother more hyperbolic (stable and predictable) flight.
Due to the fact that the Jabulani was specifically designed to be almost perfectly spherical it caused for the air to become more turbulent on one side of the ball faster than the other sides, creating significant differences in air pressure and unbalanced forced causing an erratic path.
All important imperfections
When a football is in flight the ball can experience turbulence and unpredictable behavior when it reaches speeds of
20- 30 MPH
this period of the balls flight is known as the "
drag crisis"
Drag crisis
occurs when the
air traveling over the ball is laminar
or also very uniform.
When the airflow is laminar during the flight of a football the air separates close to the front of the ball and
creates a large low pressure area
behind it which in tern, creates a
large drag force
behind the ball.
When the ball reaches the threshold, the
ball experiences erratic movement
due to the fact that there is a
large net negative force
behind the ball causes it to
dramatically causing an
imbalance in forces
also causing the ball to
sway side to side
Once the ball leaves this threshold, drag lowers and turbulence increases due to the surface imperfections in turn causing for an equilibrium in forces around the ball allowing for a smooth flight.
Laminar air flow
Higher velocity, reduced are of low pressure
With a regular
old fashioned football
, the
rougher surface
of the ball causes for the ball to pass through the
drag crisis at a lower velocity.
This is because the dense and uniform seam pattern causes the
air to become chaotic over the entire surface
increasing the
drag of the ball at the same time
. This causes the ball to be in that
threshold for a less period of time
But when the
ball is smooth
and more spherical, then the air will become
chaotic in one area
of the balls surface before another
due to asymmetric airflow
(airflow over the ball is not symmetrical causing for some areas of the ball to experience larger forces than others) . This
uneven balance in forces
is what causes the ball to
dip and swerve
and causes for the balls
flight to be erratic
Effectiveness and pros and cons of development
Moral / Ethical
This technological advancement in terms of the evolution of football can be considered to be unethical for two reasons
Firstly the reason why this development is considered unethical is because of its
erratic movement
in flight and the
increase in difficulty for goalkeepers.
Because of the balls unpredictable movement keepers are not able to predict nor be certain where the ball will travel during its flight towards a goal. In order for a keeper to perform a successful saves multiple moments of decision are evident when the keeper reacts to the ball coming towards the goal, but if the ball suddenly changes directions, the initial judgement will be wrong and then keeper might be too late to react resulting in a goal. This development will cause for the keepers job to be significantly made more difficult yet for feild players job to remain the same or cause there job to be even easier than before causing for an imbalance of fairness between positions.
Secondly this developments is considered to be unethical due to the fact that this new development will be able to be
utilized for some players
not others
. Because the Jabulani behaved in a way like never before, players who have been playing for a longer period of time experience
diffuclty adjusting
to the characteristics that differ from past footballs causing for decreased performance due to unfamiliarity with the new behaviors. Whereas for younger players who are more familiar with the characteristics of the developments of synthetic footballs, they are familiar with the behavior allowing for their performance to remain consistent. Furthermore,
younger players
might also develop
techniques and skills
that utilize the specific characteristics to their advantage which
older players might not be able to utilize
in their game. An example of this is the knuckle technique used to further exaggerate the knuckle affect of the Jabulani's trajectory. Therefore because some players have advantages over others, this development in football balls can be considered to be unethical.
Conclusion of the why the Jabulani failed in flight stability.
Because of its
when the ball is in flight and has little spin, the
drag crisis
period occurs between
45-50 MPH
a velocity that is significantly higher than normal.
Furthermore, because of its
air flow around the ball to be
causing the
unpredictable air pressures
around the
ball at different times
leading to an
erratic flight path.

In conclusion the
extreme spherical shape
of the Jabulani causes for the
different drag thresholds
as compared to regular football as well as
unbalanced forces
acting on the ball around the ball caused by
asymmetric air flow
at different times causing the
knuckling affect.

The improved surface of the ball allows for more consistent performance in terms of rolling as well as bouncing characteristics.
Due to the fact that the ball behaves differently during flight allows for players to accomplish as well as perform new techniques to utilize this behavior to advantage and score in ways never done before.
Because the jabulani makes life even more difficult for a keeper this causes in theory for more goals during the course of the match therefore causing for the match to be more exciting for the spectators.
The issue of the erratic fligh behaviour was never removed, instead amplified therefore not reaching its goal and not serving improving on past technology.
The ball remained unstable in the air causing for increase in difficulty for those playing.
Angered players as well as spectators because erratic behavior in flight caused for many errors during a match.
The social factor that can be considered with the development of previous world cup balls to the Jabulani, is the way that the sport is perceived as well as appreciated by spectators.
This is because football at a professional level is regarded as a low scoring sport, a sport where not many goals are scored during the entire course of the match. Therefore the sport is commonly appreciated in the way that not many goals are scored.
Because the Jabulani allows for a strikers job to become more facilitated and for a keepers job to be made more difficult in theory this would cause for a larger amount of goals during the course of the match.
Therefore because of the increase in goals scored during the course of a match caused by the change in ball characteristics, this can change the way in which the sport is perceived and appreciated as a low scoring game to a high scoring sport possibly increasing the popularity of the sport or decreasing the popularity of the sport.
Buduiza. 2013. Buduiza Part. 19. [video online] Available at: [Accessed: 11 Dec 2013].
Dacey, J. 2013. Players attack aerodynamics of the World Cup ball - physicsworld.com. [online] Available at: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2010/jun/09/players-attack-aerodynamics-of-the-world-cup-ball [Accessed: 10 Dec 2013].
Engineering Sport: The Centre for Sports Engineering Research. 2010. Jabulani, a ball in crisis? -Update!. [online] Available at: http://engineeringsport.co.uk/2010/06/25/jabulani-a-ball-in-crisis/ [Accessed: 10 Dec 2013].
Illumin.usc.edu. 2013. Illumin - The Naughty Jabulani. [online] Available at: https://illumin.usc.edu/205/the-naughty-jabulani/ [Accessed: 10 Dec 2013].
The world cup balls are iconic during the world cup for the represent the country in which the tournament is being held.
Because of this significance word about the ball can spread rapidly, and in terms of the Jabulani, the word was not good.
The rumor of the balls terrible performance spread and caused for sales to drop.
Adidas relies on sales in order to make a profit and the year before Adidas made an income of 680 million euros on the sales of balls. Yet Adidas experienced a loss in profit with the Jabulani reaching 660 million euros.
Therefore because of its faulty aerodynamics this factors the success of the technological development due to the failure of the new design damaging the economic success of Adidas.
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