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Environmental Test Chamber Used to Debunk ‘Deflategate’
06/16/2015

Last season in the NFL, Tom Brady, the quarterback from the New England Patriots, was accused of using under inflated footballs during the AFC championship game. Official footballs are checked before each game and are expected to measure between 12.5 and 13.5 psi. During the AFC championship game, it was reported that the Patriot’s footballs were slightly deflated. This controversy ultimately gained the nickname “deflategate.”

Midé, an engineering firm from outside of Boston, conducted a study using Thermotron Inc.’s environmental test chambers to test whether pressure changes from changes in temperature could have caused the patriot’s footballs to deflate.

“Even though we are Patriots fans, we wanted to prove the science behind temperature and airpressure. Our reputations as engineers are more important than our loyalty to the Patriots,” Chris Ludlow, vice president of engineering at Midé, said.

About a week after the AFC championship game, Midé engineers used two temperature-humidity chambers from Thermotron (the SM-8 and SM-32) to begin testing.

During testing, two official NFL footballs were placed in the chambers at 24 degrees Celsius (or 75 degrees Fahrenheit) which is approximately the temperature it was when NFL officials tested the footballs an hour before the AFC game.

“The first football’s pressure measured 13.4 psi (the high end of the allowed range) and the second was 12.6 psi (the low end of the allowed range, where Tom Brady prefers it)” according to Midé.

The footballs were then placed back into the chamber and set at 10 degrees Celsius (or 50 degrees Fahrenheit), which was the temperature 90 minutes into the ACF game when the footballs were measured again.

“The first ball dropped from 13.4 psi to 12.3 psi, and the second ball went from 12.6 psi to 11.5 psi, a significant difference,” according to researchers.

A recording of the experiment has acquired more than 2,000 views on YouTube. It is unclear whether or not Midé shared its findings with the NFL.

 

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