An experiment performed by a team at Carnegie Mellon provides empirical support for the Patriots’ claim to have done nothing unusual. The Carnegie experimentalists inflated a batch of footballs to 12.5 psi at a room temperature of 75°F, then let the balls equalize to a new ambient temperature of 50°F, resulting in an average pressure drop of 1.8 psi. (They also wet the leather balls to simulate the rainy conditions of the game, surmising that this might allow stretching that would reduce air pressure in the ball, but this seems likely to be a minor factor.)It seems that the cooler temperature on the field caused some of the water vapor in the ball to condense, reducing the pressure. This implies that what happened at the Patriots-Colts game happens all the time - any maybe even more for very cold stadiums like Green Bay. I'd guess that in sub freezing temperatures players fingers start to lose some feeling and so the situation isn't as noticeable.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Deflategate - the Patriots did not cheat
Interesting science experiment: