Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The wonderful world of Frisbee Part I

Recently me and some of my work mates who I shall refer to as Dino, Hero, God and Well Good have been exploring the wonderful world of Frisbee. Well Good had a Frisbee (or should we say sports disk as the term Frisbee is copyrighted) that was left over from a conference he had gone to previously so we flung it around one sunny afternoon. Obviously by the word sunny I mean that I am living in England where on Saturday it was about 30 degree's here in the sunny south east. As we flung the first sportsdisk around we start noticing various effects of how it flew in flight. And concluded that it was a cheap old sportsdisk which would always have difficulty in flying. So Well Good decided to buy a Ultimate Sportsdisk.

Now one thing you have to know is that between us we have about 26 years of physics education behind us. So you would think that physicists playing disk would have lots of conversations about the physics of the thing. ..... And you would not be wrong. The pros and cons of the flight were discussed. The idea's about the design were sought. Why are their ridges on the top surface? (Distorts the air more giving more lift). Would it fly further if thrown at 45 degrees. (No the air resistance would be greater as there is more surface area facing the direction of travel thus increasing the drag thus can causing the disk to stall in the air and return in the same direction as thrown). The different effects of heavier and lighter disks (Heavier more stable and go shorter).

So after lunch we managed to convince Hero to over come his reluctant to waste time throwing a disk around and (Like if apply our knowledge to a piece of plastic is a waste of time) head out on the green and throw the disk around and marvel at the way that Dino can continually be consistent in his throwing while the rest of us mealy occasionally throw it straight and true but mainly we curl the disk while God makes his go backwards. Of course the reason we throw it is clear. We are throwing the disks at non-flat angles perpendicular to the direction of flight. But even with knowing this we do not do it. As the saying goes doing and knowing are two different things.

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