May the Bat Be with You

Would you believe that there is so much in each baseball bat than just using them to hit a homerun in the diamond? This is far from being easy to understand, folks. It involves the force.

The baseball bats that dominate the market these days do not only feature their hi-tech aluminum and composite make up. There is so much physics and engineering when a baseball bat collides with a baseball. There is so much vibrational and acoustic analysis in the phenomenon.

When the Ball Meets Bat

What happens when the baseball collides with the baseball bat? A significant amount of deformation happens in the ball, more than what happens to the bat.The ball experiences a significant amount of deformation during the collision, much more so than the bat. After the collision, the speed of the ball is less than its speed prior to the collision. The effect is measured as the coefficient of restitution (COR). The COR roughly decreases linearly with increasing ball velocity.

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What Happens to the Bat?

As established earlier, during the collision, the ball undergoes deformation with its speed lessened. The ball also changes direction towards where the bat sways. But what happens to the bat? The bat also undergoes some compression during the collision. The barrel of the bat compresses and expands, appearing to throw the ball away, paving the way for a unique to phenomenon called the “trampoline effect”.

The Force with the Bat and Ball

The collision between bat and ball creates an extremely violent impact. The bat exerts a considerable amount of force on the ball causing the ball to change direction and travels away from the batter while gaining speed. It should be noted that the force that the bat exerts on the ball is not a constant during the entire duration of contact. Instead it follows more of a sine-squared time history, starting and ending at zero and peaking approximately half way through the duration of contact.

Moment with Momentum

During the collision and contact of the bat and the ball, the player is exerting the force needed to swing the bat. The momentum, in this case is not constant because of the force exerted by the player swinging the bat. It should be noted that the force on the bat by the player is much smaller compared to the forces between bat and ball during the collision.


The collision of the baseball and the bat may just be an ordinary thing that you observe during a baseball game. It is noteworthy to mention that more than the collision and the impact during the contact of the ball and the bat, there are other phenomena that result from it.