There is still more debate going on about the deflated footballs that the New England Patriots used in their playoff game. "Who Deflated Them? When? Were they acting on orders?" But no one is asking if it makes a real difference.
Enter ANSYS simulation software. Using the newest ANSYS product, ANSYS AIM, the engineers at ANSYS, Inc. were able to simulate the effect of lower pressure on grip. It turns out that the the difference in pressure only made a 5mm difference in grip. No big deal.
Being a Multiphysics tool they were able to quickly also run a flow analysis and see what impact drag from "wobble" had on a pass. A 10% off axis wobble resulted in 20% more drag, that is a few yards on a long pass. Their conclusion, throwing a tight spiral is more important than the pressure of the ball.
In honor of the big game this weekend the folks at Stratasys scored big time with a 3D printed football. Stratasys has had a history of using 3D printing to improve on a variety of sports; however this time they out did themselves by possibly solving the infamous issue of deflategate. Since the Ideal Gas Law doesn't exactly explain it, maybe 3D printing could help prevent it from interfering in the big game until an answer is found. I’m not sure the NFL will be too keen on using these balls but it’s a thought
The football was created on the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-Material 3D Production System and was printed in three materials. VeroMagenta and VeroYellow was used for the bulk of the design however they were also able to replicate the true texture and feel of a real football using the rubber-like TangoPlus material and all in one print job. It is heavier than a game ball but can still be tossed around. Of course they wouldn’t print a football and not test it. Check out their video below.