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A Virtual Golf Ball Design Project Using Ls Dyna

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.45.1 - 4.45.8

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Tom Mase

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1358

A Virtual Golf Ball Design Project Using LS-DYNA

Tom Mase Kettering University


Student groups design a golf ball by specifying cover and core properties as well as geometry. To have a starting point for the material properties, experimental force deflection curves are provided (posted on the internet) for Surlyn® and polybutadiene rubber. From these curves the student groups must analyze the data to get baseline material properties. Sample two piece balls are cut up so the students can get reasonable cover thickness values. Each group conducts design iterations using LS-DYNA1, a commercial explicit finite element program, simulations where they specify geometry, material, and material properties for a two-piece or double cover ball. From each of these simulations the students get initial velocity, launch angle, backspin, and distance. A FORTRAN program has been written allowing the students to input their ball launch conditions to obtain the ball’s trajectory and carry distance. To accommodate the student’s analysis needs, a standardized LS-INGRID file for the ball and club was developed (LS-INGRID is a preprocessor for LS-DYNA). Also, FORTRAN program has been written to post-process the data. Running these simulations on a Sun Ultra 1 workstation takes approximately 7 minutes per design iteration.

I. Introduction

In academics, there is a need for drawing the best students into engineering as well as retaining them. One approach to doing this is to have engineering projects as part of the curriculum to pique their interest in the field. Using sports related projects is a good way to accomplish this since most of the students have some experience by either participating or as a spectator. In addition to delivering material that the students can relate to, multi-disciplinary projects are useful for demonstrating how several distinct course topics are needed to solve technical problems.

In this paper, a class project in which the students design a golf ball using LS-DYNA is described. In addition to describing the way this has been done at Kettering University (formerly GMI Engineering & Management Institute), various software and data files are also available from the author ( It is hoped that this information will allow the project to be used at other institutions promoting engineering design using advanced CAE tools such as LS-DYNA.

Several engineering topics are used in this virtual golf ball laboratory, or golf ball V-lab, which is delivered from the course web site2 (Fig. 1). These topics range from freshman to senior level subjects. In spite of this span over the curriculum, the V-lab is meant to be able to work well

Mase, T. (1999, June), A Virtual Golf Ball Design Project Using Ls Dyna Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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