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I am doing a science project on which a bat hits a baseball farther, a bat made of wood or aluminum? Do you have any idea of how can I set up my experiment?
Question Date: 2013-01-02
Answer 1:

This sounds like an interesting experiment. When you begin designing an experiment, it's important to focus on one variable at a time. In other words, you want to ask the question, "all other things being equal, which bat can hit a baseball farther?" I realize this sounds very similar to what you said, but the words to note are "all other things being equal." So what does this mean? What are the "other things" that come into play when you hit a baseball?

When you hit a baseball, how far it goes will depend on who is hitting it, how hard they decide to hit it, the angle and speed that the ball arrives at the bat, the angle and speed of the bat hitting the ball, and perhaps even what kind of ball you're using. That is a lot to think about besides whether the bat is wood or aluminum! So we want to eliminate all of these other "variables" to figure out the effect of the variable of interest: the material comprising the bat.

To do this, I would suggest setting up the experiment in a couple of ways:

1. First, see how far the ball goes without using a person to hit the ball. (Basically you're going to set up a pendulum)
- suspend the bats using a rope of some kind from the same height. Make sure the ropes are the same length and that the bats reach just an inch off the ground.
- place a ball on the ground (make sure it's the same ball every time --- two bats, but only one ball!)
- hold the bats at a certain height (so the rope is straight/extended and not floppy), then release the bat so that it hits the ball at the bottom of its arc.
- record how far the ball goes, making sure the ground/flooring you use is the same. Alternatively, if you don't have a lot of room, you can measure how fast it reaches a certain distance, and then use distance=rate*time to solve for the speed (rate) at which the balls travel. The faster the ball is going, the farther it probably would have gone.
- repeat this several times for each kind of bat so you can get good statistics.

2. Now let's see how far the ball goes while using a person.
- Something you'll have to think about is that the wood bat will probably be lighter than the aluminum bat. This means it'll be easier to swing harder for the wooden bat. But you'll have to try to swing with the same amount of force for each type of bat.
- set up a batting tee if you have one/have access to one.
- using the same ball for each trial, use each type of bat to hit the ball several times, with the same force and at the same angle each time.
- have a couple of friends do some trials for you as well.
- note that there is a lot more room for error here, which is why I suggested doing the first part of the experiment. But hitting the ball is a little more fun and it's important to see if you can get results to agree between different parts of the experiment :)
Obviously these are all suggestions, but I hope they help you with your experiment!

Answer 2:

This isn't going to be easy, because you have to somehow standardize based on material as well as the strength and tiredness of the wielder.

What I would do is set up a T with the ball on the T (as in T-ball). Have several people hit the ball, first with an aluminum bat, and then with the wooden bat. Have several OTHER people do the same but in reverse order (i.e. use the wooden bat first). Tally up the distances the ball goes for the type of bat.

Answer 3:

I guess you can set up your experiment by having pitcher(s) and hitter(s) in a field and measuring how far away the ball hits the ground. Maybe you can get a long thin piece of wood or plastic from a building supply store - maybe 8 ft long or more - and you can count out the distances with that. I'm not sure what's the best way to measure.

My thoughts about setting up the experiment are more about how to get good data for comparing the 2 bats.

1. It would be good to get at least 10 hits with each bat, and whoever bats should make the same number of hits with each bat.

2. You probably want your batters to swing with one bat til they make a hit and then switch bats.

3. You want to make sure they aren't getting longer or shorter hits because they are less or more tired. That's why I suggest switching bats after making a hit.

Good luck! That sounds like a fun experiment. I guess it has been done before by baseball players, so you might want to find out if your answer agrees with their answer.

Keep asking questions!
Best wishes,

Answer 4:

I would try to get a ball pitcher that would continuously pitch a ball at the same speed OR use a T-ball holder. Then, I would have several people hit the ball multiple times with the different bats. I can help more if you have more questions.

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