Thursday, March 29, 2012

Golf Ball Effect - Dimpled Car

Have you ever pondered the purpose of golf ball dimples?  A few weeks ago we took a look at the evolution of the golf ball, and how it has been transformed from a hacky-sack style ball to the ball we have today.  A lot of companies have spent countless hours and dollars on the research and development of todays modern golf ball.  The dimples are said to increase flight efficiency making it more streamline.  If this is true, could this concept be applied to other industries and applications?

A few years ago it was proposed that golf ball dimples on a car could reduce drag, just like it does on a golf ball. Of course the idea was laughed at and verbally beaten to a pulp. Initially, it seems like an absurd concept, but if it works for golf balls, why not cars?  Well guess what?  The Mythbusters took it upon themselves to test this very theory.

To test this theory, the show's team completely covered a last-gen Ford Taurus with modelers clay and figured out that it would achieve about 26 mpg at a constant 65 mph. They then went about adding over 1,000 dimples to the car's exterior. To keep the experiment consistent, all 1,082 dimples removed from the clay exterior were put in a box and set in the back seat so that the car would weigh exactly the same as before dimpling. The theory is that, like a golf ball, the dimples would reduce the car's drag through the air, thus allowing it to travel the same distance at the same speed using less fuel. The result? Have a look at the video below, you may be surprised...