Baseball: Engineering and Performance

Baseball is loved by many!


“Major League Baseball” by slgckgc is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By: John Stevens, Journalist

Baseball.  Many call “The All-American Pastime Sport”  Because of regulations and rules, it luckily has not changed much in 100 years and is keeping to tradition.  However, that does not mean engineers have not learned many things about the mechanics of that bat, ball, pitching, and swings.

There has been plenty of research over the years to determine how each of those things work and work together.  Every player wants to hit the ball far into the field.  There has been improvement on ball models as well as the bats.

With the introduction of aluminum bats, engineers have proven a major increase in performance.  They have learned the formula of (vh) depends on the pitch speed (vp), the bat speed (vb) and a term called the collision efficiency (ea): vh = vp ea + vb (1 + ea).  When hit properly at the COP ( center of percussion), there is no reaction to force, which means the player does not feel a sting through the bat.

Balls have equally been tested by engineers and have determined the key is in the elasticity and stiffness.  They have learned balls are sensitive to humidity and temperature after running extensive tests in 2 ways—the quasi-static test, which measures compression, and a dynamic stiffness test.  Many leagues test the ball regularly to be sure there are no changes and ensure fairness.

With the engineers discovering new things about America’s favorite pastime sport regularly, they know the fans don’t want to see many changes on an old-time tradition.  It is ok to learn new things, but some things do not need to be changed, and Baseball is one of them.

Related Stories: