Physics - Looking for a break
While Greg Maddux's curveball might break 19 inches at Atlanta's Turner Field, conditions at Denver's Coors Field can cut the amount of break by 10 percent, according to some groundbreaking research performed at ORNL. The fluid mechanics research, which aims to precisely quantify the interaction between solids and fluids, uses the lab's computer to run an algorithm developed by an ORNL researcher that takes into account barometric pressure, humidity and temperature. In the baseball example, two inches may not seem like a lot, but in a game of inches, that and the fact the ball travels farther in Denver are wreaking havoc on finesse pitchers like Maddux. Researchers expect this work to apply to many challenges in physics, including problems in aerodynamics and nanoscale devices. They also see applications in the modeling of submarines.
March 01, 2001