Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Koenig, Keith

Committee Member

Lacy, Thomas E.

Committee Member

Janus, J. Mark

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science


In this study, the aerodynamic effects on an American football are characterized, especially in a tumbling, or end-over-end, motion as seen in a typical kickoff or field goal attempt. The objective of this study is to establish aerodynamic coefficients for the dynamic motion of a tumbling American football. A subsonic wind tunnel was used to recreate a range of air velocities that, when coupled with rotation rates and differing laces orientations, would provide a test bed for aerodynamic drag, side, and lift coefficient analysis. Test results quantify effect of back-spin and top-spin on lift force. Results show that the presence of laces imposes a side force in the opposite direction of the laces orientation. A secondary system was installed to visualize air flow around the tumbling ball and record high-speed video of wake patterns, as a qualitative check of measured force directions.