© Compound Interest
The Chemistry of the World Cup Football
A number of chemical materials are used in the manufacture of the Brazuca, the World Cup football. The majority of these materials are polymers; these are very long molecules built up from many smaller component molecules. A simple, everyday example is polyethene, used to make some plastic bags. Different classes of polymers are used to achieve particular properties for the ball.
Footballs consist of three main component parts: the covering (the outermost layer), the lining, and the bladder. Obviously, these will be designed in a manner that provides the most favourable aerodynamic properties for the ball – however, that’s veering dangerously into physics territory. None of these properties would be achievable without chemistry providing the materials required, so here’s a breakdown of the different types of polymers used in each component part of the ball.