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Corked baseball bats versus regular wooden batsFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was performed to ascertain the distance traveled by a ball when hit with a corked bat and with a standard wooden baseball bat. The science project experiment involved the participation of experienced baseball players.

Hypothesis

A baseball will travel further when hit with a corked baseball bat, rather than a standard wooden bat.

Scientific Terms

Center of gravity, mass

Background

Baseball bats

Baseball bats are normally made from wood or aluminum. Wooden bats break easily and when they do so, they splinter. Wooden bats are also heavier but as a result, the ball travels further when hit with a wooden bat. A fast swing and a hard bat will cause the ball to travel faster and further. The wooden bat’s center of gravity is farther away from the hand and therefore it feels heavier when held.

Corked bats are made by drilling a hole through the core of the bat and filling it with a less dense material like cork. This will make the bat slightly lighter while maintaining its power. The lighter bat enables the player to have better control over timing and produces a faster swing.

Lowering the mass of the bat may increase the speed of the swing, but the impact between the ball and the bat becomes less effective. At the same swing speed, the heavier bat will enable the ball to travel further and faster.

A bat that is swung more quickly will cause the ball to travel faster and a lighter bat with a less effective "collision" between ball and bat, will produce a slower ball. This may mean that there is little or no advantage in using a corked bat.

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Complexity level:
9
Project cost ($):
80
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 day for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Sports safety rules should be followed. The experiment should be supervised by an adult.