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Golf Ball-Inspired Nike Suit Reduces Runners’ Drag

A new Nike track suit, which runners will wear at the 2012 Summer Olympics, has golf-ball inspired holes to reduce drag. (Image credit: Nike)

Think fast! Superman, speeding bullets and the arrow of time come to mind, but not necessarily golf. Yet Nike's latest professional track suit, which spectators will see at the London Summer Olympics this year, takes a cue from the slower-paced sport. The new suit, whose snug fit makes it look like it comes from a superhero's closet, features golf ball-inspired dimples to reduce drag. Nike announced the suit, called the Pro TurboSpeed, in February.

Golf ball dimples work by creating a thin layer of turbulent air molecules right on the surface of the ball. Those molecules follow the curve of the ball's surface better than they would on a smooth ball, which reduces the size of the wake behind the ball. Small holes in the TurboSpeed do the same for the people wearing them. Nike placed the holes strategically based on data they gathered from wind tunnel testing, the company said.

In Nike's wind tunnel tests, TurboSpeed reduced 100-meter dash times by up to 0.023 seconds. The current world record for the 100-meter dash is 9.58 seconds, 0.11 seconds faster than the previous record. Jamaica's Usain Bolt set both those records.

The new suit is also eco-friendly. It's made of 82 percent recycled polyester and each uses an average of 13 recycled plastic bottles, Nike said.

Runners from the U.S., Germany, Russia and China will wear the suits at the Olympics.

This story was provided by InnovationNewsDaily, a sister site to Live Science. Follow InnovationNewsDaily on Twitter @News_Innovation, or on Facebook.

Live Science Staff
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