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How Sweet It Is: An Analysis of the "Sweet Spot" of a Baseball Bat

by

Peter Bonventre, Steven Neier, and Pengfei Zhang
Union College

April 20, 2010
4:00 pm
Bailey Hall 207

Refreshments will be served at 3:45 in Bailey 204


Abstract:

The location of maximum power transfer of a baseball bat, the "sweet spot", has been know since the beginning of baseball. However, only in the last 30 years has research been conducted to determine the characteristics of such a location. We developed a model that explained the bat-ball collision in terms of the interaction between two spring systems. This interaction characterized the collision based on the velocity of the bat and ball, moment of inertia, center of mass, the colliding efficiency of the ball, and the recoil factors of the bat. It was determined that this location was at 71.5 cm along the length of the bat for a typical 86 cm (34 inch) bat. This position balanced the influences of the center of mass and vibrational modes. This model was also applied to "corked" and non-wooden bats, and these variations altered the location by no more than 2 cm. However, it was determined that "corked" bats did not provide any additional power, whereas metal bats increased the maximum speed of the ball.


For additional information, send e-mail to math@union.edu or call (518) 388-6246.
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