Ball bearing basics
A ball is an oval shaped object with many different uses. It’s most commonly used in sports, where the sport of ball playing follows the motion of the ball after it’s been hit, thrown or kicked. Other balls can be used for more simple activities, including juggling or catching.
There are a number of ways to describe a ball, which can help when it comes to defining and understanding it. Inflated balls travel in a circular orbit, while deflated balls travel in a linear orbit. In ball rolling, the speed and direction of a ball will always be in the same shape regardless of its size. A ball that’s traveling in a circular orbit will always stay on course. The only way to change its course is to launch it off the landing or rollover and re-enter the orbit.
A ball’s surface area is the sum of its volume and its weight. A ball with little mass has little weight, so it will tend to stay on course even when the ball is rolling. A ball with larger weight, a spherical shape, tends to follow paths that are more curved, leading to less stability and less predictable flight. The opposite happens with “snowball” balls – those with large surface areas tend to move around more and have more lateral movements.
A ball can be deformed by a number of different things, including temperature, moisture, lighting, friction, air pressure, ball handling and ball rolling speed. A ball that experiences high temperatures because of a hot summer or cold winter will flatten out and become sluggish. Because of friction, balls can be deformed because of their surfaces. When a ball rolls on a hardwood floor, it tends to glide smoothly because the smooth surface attracts the ball and helps it stay on course. However, if you use a ball rolling machine, the friction causes the ball to deform, which causes the ball to overcompensate for the smoothness of the floor.
Many manufacturers design balls in different shapes to give them different properties. Most of the balls in use today are either spherical, meshed (which is a cross between a spherical and flat ball), low-density or high-density. Most manufacturers also allow for “interlocking” of the seams, which allows for balls of different sizes and shapes to nest together without creating obvious seam lines.
Ball bearings are important in ball sports like basketball and softball. In basketball and softball, a well-designed basketball or volleyball ball has a better chance of bouncing and landing in the middle of the playing court instead of rolling all over the court. Because of this, players often play “defense” and try to stop the ball in mid-air. A ball with small ball bearings that don’t have large surface areas could lead to this problem.