Thursday, April 1, 2010

Aluminum Bats vs Composite Bats

Composite baseball bats are gaining popularity in softball and little leagues world wide. Using carbon fiber and epoxy, these composite bats are said to have such good performance, that they are now banned for use in NCAA play. Much like other composite products, the big draw to the bats is their lightweight yet powerful capabilities.

What is interesting though, is that while most composite products dread delamination and fiber-breakage, composite bats desire it. It is said that composite bats get better with use. The theory goes, as fiber breaks and delaminates in the bat barrel, the bat becomes more flexible producing more power when you hit the ball.

In 2008, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell put this to the test. Although their sample size was relatively small, they concluded:
"A set of six “high-performance” composite baseball bats and one aluminium baseball bat were tested to see how their respective batted-ball performances would evolve with use. None of the bats showed a significant change in the resulting batted-ball-speed performance using the NCAA BESR performance testing protocol. Three of the six baseball bats failed with less than 100 hits—implying that some of the composite bat designs are not durable."
A high-end composite bat, weighing less the 30oz, can retail for over $300... Not too shabby.

Photo Credit: ertemplin via flicker

Related Articles:
Composite Material: Composite Bats Not Allowed in NCAA
Composite Material Blog: Stealth Wind Turbines - Using Composite ...
Composite Material: Riversimple Urban Car - 300 mpg - (Composite Body)