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Unformatted text preview: Materials in Sports Designing Better golf clubs and baseball bats . require materials that combine very high flow stresses with low elastic moduli, so that surfaces that impact the ball can be made highly compliant (high deflection/load). Gary M. Michal* and Mark D. Novak Dept. of Materials Science a? Engineering Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, Ohio common denominator of the most pop- ular sports is a ball. The ability to make the ball move with a high velocity is al- most universally a key element for the players. Imparting a high ball velocity is advanta- geous for two major reasons: higher ball velocity translates into reduced reaction time for an oppo- nent, and the distance a ball can travel also is di- rectly linked to its launch velocity. Having a ball carry a great distance is the central ) feature of arguably the most spectacular events in both the sports of baseball and golf. The home run in baseball and the long drive in golf have in common the soaring flight of the ball. For a ball to travel a long distance it must attain a high velocity. A secondary consideration is the spin of the ball. Ball launch velocity is the primary concern of this ‘ article. How to boost a ball’s launch velocity Although many a frustrated player has stated emphatically that they could throw the ball farther than they could hit it, the truth is that baseball bats and golf clubs allow a player to achieve much higher ball velocities. Two factors are the basis for the greater ball speed resulting from the use of a bat or club: increasing the radius of rotation and creating a collision. Rotation radius: Compared with throwing a ball, use of a bat or club increases the length of the ra- dius of rotation between the torso of the player and * Fellow of ASM International for BALL IMPACTS ’ Fig. 1 — The insert in the head of this No. 3 fairway wood is vacuum die cast by Howmet Metal Mold, Howmet Specialty Products, Whitehall, Mich, from Vitreloy metallic glass (Lia— uidmetal alloy). Nominal composition of the amorphous metal is 6SZr-11Ti—12.5Cu—10Ni—3.5 Be. The golf club also features a graphite shaft. Photo courtesy Liquidmetal Golf, Laguna Niguel, Calif. (Web: umrwliauidmetalgolfcom). the point of contact with the ball. For a constant an- gular velocity, tangential velocity increases linearly with the radius of. rotation. A golf driver effectively increases the reach of a player by about 3 ft (1 m). The added length to the radius of rotation allows even a modest golfer to achieve a club head velocity of 80 mph (130 km / h). On average, individuals with equivalent athletic prowess could throw a ball at a speed not much faster than 50 mph (80 km / h). Collision creation: Games such as jai alai and lacrosse use items of equipment to extend the reach of the players, allowing them to catch the ball and then throw it with a high velocity. However, bats and clubs do not catch or throw the ball. These items of equipment undergo collisions with the ball. Creating a collision is the second way in which bats ADVANCED MATERIALS & PROCESSES/ SEPTEMBER 2001 31 ...
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