Physics of Softball Free essay! Download now
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Physics of Softball
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| Words: 1149 | Submitted: 20-Jan-2015
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DescriptionThis highlights three skills in softball and the physics behind them.
Physics in Softball
There are many aspects of softball that contain the use of physics without the players knowing. I picked to research the sport of softball and the interactions it has with the concepts of physics because I have played softball since I was eight years old and have always found the aspects of the sport to be interesting. In softball you can see the aspects of windmill power, vibrations of the bat, and the mechanics of throwing different pitches.
In physics, an object’s kinetic energy is equal to work multiplied by displacement. In softball terms, a pitch’s velocity equals the force applied by the pitcher times the distance the ball travels before release. This explains why softball pitchers use a long, windmill wind up. By moving the ball in a circle, it travels a greater distance than if the pitcher moved the ball straight back and then straight ahead. During a windmill wind up, the ball accelerates until it leaves the pitcher’s hand, after which, gravity and wind resistance begin to reduce its velocity. A softball pitcher does several things to add force to her delivery and, thereby, increase the speed of her pitches. First, she rocks back a bit before moving forward. The forward weight shift adds momentum to the start of her delivery. She also steps forward toward the plate, pushes off the mound with her back foot and snaps her wrist while releasing the ball. All these forward motions add force and help the ball accelerate throughout the wind up, reaching a peak velocity at the delivery point.
Vibrations of the Bat
A freely supported baseball bat exhibits several flexural bending modes of vibration which are similar to those of a free-free beam. One might be inclined to believe that a hand-held bat should be treated more like a clamped-free (cantilever) beam. However, research has shown that while the hands quickly damp the bat vibrations, a hand held grip (even tightly gripped) does not significantly change the vibrational frequencies or the mode shapes. The frequencies and shapes for a bat which is free at both ends, sufficiently describe the vibrational behavior of a held bat.
The first bending mode usually occurs at a frequency around 170Hz and is extremely important to the performance of a bat. One of the definitions of the "sweet spot" is the location of the node at the barrel end of the bat. This point, usually 5-7 inches from the barrel end, does not move when the bat is vibrating in its first (or fundamental) bending mode. Another node exists about 6 inches from the handle end (both nodes are identified by the black dots in the animation). An impact at the node will ...
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