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The Science Behind Softball
Transcript of The Science Behind Softball
By Casey Martin
Softball, as in all sports, is all about science and physics. There are specific movements and positions that help you perform to your best ability. Without physics, softball would not be nearly as advanced as it is today. The bats wouldn't be able to hit the ball as far, the pitchers would be a lot more hittable and the batters would not be able to swing as fast, as hard, or as accurately. Physics has helped to greatly improve the sport of softball.
What goes in to making a softball bat
Carbon fiber sheets
Hot steel roller
Braided heavy carbon
Aramid (a synthetic weave)
Physics Behind Pitching
When pitching in softball, you're whole body helps to put more speed and power into your pitch. Throughout the pitch, the ball picks up more and more speed. Starting at the very beginning, the slight rock back is what starts the momentum for the entire pitch. As you come forward, the push off of the rubber gives you a little extra boost. As your arm comes up, your hips start to turn, making the linear momentum into angular momentum.
As your shoulder rotates around your your body, you pick up more and more speed. The slight cock of your wrist throughout the pitch also increases the speed a little because it is storing potential energy for the flick at the end. Once your hand flips forward, the energy is released. After the ball leaves your hand it slows down a tiny bit due to air resistance.
Physics Behind Hitting
When swinging a bat, there are two major forces that effect it. These forces are angular momentum and torque.
Angular momentum is defined as the cross-product of the position of the position of an object and the linear momentum of the object. In hitting, it occurs when the hands are quickly swung in an arc and is the transfer of the body's movement to the bat. When this happens the batter's body is rotating and angular momentum is transferred to the bat in the form of acceleration. The transfer is from the swinging of the arms and the barrel end of the bat swinging around the hands.
Torque is defined as the force applied to an object multiplied by the distance from the axis at the rotation point on which the force is acting.
It is the application of a rotational force at the bat's handle by the combined efforts of the hands, arms, and shoulders in hitting. Torque is applied to the barrel part of the bat in the swing by the forearms' and hands' pushing and pulling actions. Applying torque throughout your swing and maintaining your hands in a circular path will maximize your bat speed.
The Science Behind Softball
The Science Behind Softball
7 Streaks Period 6
By moving your arm in a loop, it allows the ball to move over a greater distance. This increases the kinetic energy and therefore the ball picks up more speed. Some this speed is from centripetal acceleration, which happens throughout the pitch.
At the bottom of the arm rotation, near the end, it is like a pendulum swing, which can cause the ball to accelerate around 45 times faster than the usual acceleration. This is due to gravity helping to push the ball along. This pitcher must exert a force of at least 20 pounds right before the release point. That is about 25% more than the heaviest bowling ball weighs. With this pitcher, the ball's maximum rotational speed is about 290 rpm. That is about two thirds the rotation speed of helicopter blades! The peek kinetic energy of this pitcher is about 54 foot pounds. This would be like a bowling ball being thrown at you at about ten miles an hour!
These things are just the outline of the physics in pitching, there is a lot more that you can go into detail with like body, the friction with the ground dirt, and the ball grip. This is the jist of it though.
To hit a ball well your body must rotate around your spine (a fixed axis). With the best-hit balls, the collision occurs in a thousandth of a second. This collision causes the ball to reverse direction (this is entirely from the bat swing).
In the collision of the ball and the bat, the bat applies force to the ball, which compresses it and the ball then exerts the force to bat once it regains it original shape. The recoil action from the exerted force drives the ball away from the bat quickly.
This all means that the faster you swing the bat, the farther the ball will go.
Pneumatic bending equipment
Step 1: Create pliable sheets of carbon fiber, glass, and Kevlar embedded in plastic resin. Crisscrossed sheets are ironed together, then run through a hot steel roller. This joins the layers together. You must then cut them to the size you need.
Step 2: The carbon fiber sheets must be spiraled around a steel bat form. Polypropylene tape is then put on to squeeze all of the air out from between the layers. This is then baked in an oven for two hours to cure the resin and join the layers together again.
Step 3: You must remove the tape after the bat is baked. Then tubes of braided carbon and fiberglass, braided carbon, and and aramid, ( a synthetic weave), are slid on and taped. The bat is then placed into another mold.
Step 4: Once in the mold, the bat is injected with epoxy resin. Once this is done, the mold applies hot pressure so it can bake all of the layers together and create the shape of the bat.
Step 5: The bat can now hold its own shape. The steel from is removed by five-ton puller, and tested for flexibility using pneumatic equipment.
Step 6: To finish the shape, a lather cutter cuts the resin base into a knob at the grip end of the bat. It is then sanded by being spun.
Step 7: The bat is then dipped in primer and hung to dry. After that, any individual markings are added by using spray paint, decals and laser-printed logos.
Step 8: Weight is then added to the bat. This is done by the end of the bat being pressure-fitted with a poly-carbonate plug which is sealed with resin. Resin is then pumped through a hole in the knob to get the bat to the desired weight.
Step 9: You must then balance to the bat by using a hydraulic ram to drive a steel pin into the hole in the bottom of the knob.
Step 10: Finally you must wrap up the handle. Usually some kind of synthetic leather is used to have a better grip.
How To Make a Bat