The Development of a Composite Additive to Increase Safety and Performance of Wooden Baseball Bats
Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
test, performance, bats, strength, wood
Many youth baseball leagues are in the process of doing away with metal bats and using solely wood bats. They claim the game will be safer since ball exit velocities off of wood bats are lower than that of their metal counterparts; however, they are overlooking the fact that wood bats shatter causing new safety concerns that are not experienced with metal. It was the goal of this project to develop and test new additive materials to coat wood baseball bats in order to improve strength without decreasing performance. Polyurethane sealant, carbon fiber fabric, and duct tape were chosen to be tested because they offer an array of strength and hardness differences. In order to test the strength of each material-bat combination, a three point bending test was conducted. Since it is also unknown whether a hard or soft bat is more ideal for performance, a hardness test was conducted in order to classify each material. These results were then compared to a performance (swing) test meant to analyze how each added material affected the ball exit velocity off of the bat. The comparison of the performance test and the hardness test helped give insight as to what type of bat is desirable. After testing, it was found that Carbon fiber and polyurethane sealant increased the strength of the specimens, satisfying the first goal of the project. Duct tape actually decreased the strength, which allowed for its removal from consideration. Following the performance test, it was concluded that none of the materials are viable for actual implementation because they severely decreased ball exit speed. Duct tape produced a result closest to that of plain wood, suggesting that a softer material might be more desirable for performance since carbon fiber and polyurethane were found to be harder; however, there were concerns with the application process which may have affected the performance results.
Worley, CJ, "The Development of a Composite Additive to Increase Safety and Performance of Wooden Baseball Bats" (2015). Honors Theses. 406.