The Dynamics of Javelin Throw

[+] Author and Article Information
Tsai-Chen Soong

Xerox Corporation, Rochester, N. Y.

J. Appl. Mech 42(2), 257-262 (Jun 01, 1975) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3423563 History: Received July 01, 1974; Revised August 01, 1974; Online July 12, 2010


Wolferman of West Germany won the 1972 World Olympic javelin throw with a throw of 296 ft 10 in. (90.47m). Lusis of the USSR came in second with a throw of 1 in. (2.5cm) less. Had he paid a little more attention to technical details, he could have won. In the present paper, five nonlinear, dynamic differential equations which describe a javelin in flight, the wind effect included, are derived, and a numerical solution is proposed. A case study shows that 3.31m (10.9 ft) could be added to the 1972 record by using a throw angle and initial javelin axis angle of 42 and 35 deg, respectively, instead of the conventional angles of 35 deg. Slightly modifying the contour of the javelin profile, legitimate within current NCAA rules, to move the center of the pressure drag forward to 0.8cm behind its center of gravity, instead of the present 25.7cm, gives an additional gain in range of 16.13m (52.9 ft).

Copyright © 1975 by ASME
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