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
- 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!
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
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.
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
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!