How much does the air pressure within a football matter?

The air pressure within a football can make a considerable difference to the distance traveled and flight time of a ball. Air pressure is a vital aspect when considering distance traveled and flight time of a ball. If the force that is being applied to the ball remains constant, and the air pressure within the ball is the variable then we are able to draw a conclusion of how much difference the air pressure makes.

If the air pressure within a ball is increased, then the gas within the ball becomes more elastic.

Elasticity enables an object to release energy that is received during a collision. This is called an elastic collision. When the ball is kicked, the gas within the ball compresses and then expands, and some heat and sound will also be generated. Therefore, the more pressure of the gas within the ball, the more efficient the compression and expansion of the gas becomes. However, with a slightly deflated ball there is less elasticity, so instead, the ball will absorb most of the force from the kick just by becoming deformed.

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Before an Australian Football League game, each football used is inflated to 62 – 76 kPa. This is used as the regulation air pressure of a football for the AFL. Studies conducted by Dan Whiteman, a 14 year old boy, have shown that a ball inflated to any pressure under or over the recommended pressure will decrease the distance that the football will travel through the air. This same theory also applies toward the bouncing of balls.

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The more pressure that is held within the ball, then the higher that the ball will bounce when compared to a deflated ball.

The air pressure within a football can play a much greater role if the ball is not inflated to the recommended levels. However, the effect of the air pressure varies depending on how much the ball is deflated. Small variances of air pressure within the ball can cause a dramatic impact on the distance that the ball travels. This can become especially crucial in a game situation where the ball is not pumped to the correct pressure. If one player is aware of the air pressure within the football, then that player may choose to stand in front of his opposition as the ball will travel a shorter distance than expected. This tactic could also be employed in a game of American Football where the kicker must take a punt for goal. If the pressure within the ball was to be minimized, then the punt may not make the distance needed to score. The bouncing of a football is also another example of how the air pressure could change some aspects within a game. If the pressure was lowered, less elasticity would exist within the ball and consequently the ball would bounce much lower than a correctly inflated ball.

In conclusion, the air pressure within a football does matter. This pressure can influence the distance of the kick, and the height of the bounce of the ball during a game. When playing with a football not inflated to the ideal air pressure, it can cause an unfair advantage to one team if they are aware of the deflation. The distance that the football may travel may vary buy ten – twenty percent if the ball is not correctly inflated. The air pressure of an Australian Rules Football in games must stay between 62 – 76 kPa at all times so that the game remains fair towards both sides competing. The air pressure within a football if not inflated to recommended levels makes a significant impact on many aspects of the game. Therefore the air pressure of a football must remain constant between 62 – 76 kpa.


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How much does the air pressure within a football matter?. (2016, Jul 31). Retrieved from

How much does the air pressure within a football matter?

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