Posts Tagged baseball bats

Difference between Wood and Aluminum Baseball Bats

Since the 1970’s baseball players and critics have been asking what is the difference between wood and aluminum bats?  They want to know which is better.  Well anyone who has used both an aluminum and a wooden bat can tell you that aluminum is better.  Baseballs fly off aluminum bats faster than wooden ones.  Every year aluminum bats are re-designed to have a wider sweet spot, more power, better feel and higher performance.  One of the differences between aluminum and wooden bats is that the barrel of an aluminum bat is hollow.  The distribution of mass along the length of a metal bat is considerably different than it is for a solid wood one.  The difference is found in the location of the center of mass (CM), aka the balance point.  The closer the balance point to the handle of the bat, the easier it is to swing.

When a baseball hits a wood bat, it is compressed to nearly half its original diameter, losing up to 75% of its initial energy to internal friction forces during this compression.  With a metal bat, which is hollow, when the baseball hits the barrel it compresses like a spring.  This means that the ball is not compressed as much and therefore loses less energy to internal friction forces.   Metal bats have larger sweet spots.  The sweet spot is the part of the bat where the ball flies off faster, but also reduces the amount of shock or vibration on the handle. 

It is for this reason why metal bats are used in little leagues.  It allows the children of all abilities a better chance to hit the ball.  However, if a player uses a metal bat for too long and progresses to a pro level it could hinder them when they need use a wooden bat.  A recommended way to avoid this from happening would be to use a wooden bat in batting practice, then use the aluminum bat during the game. 

It has also been debated to re-introduce wooden bats in the college ranks.  Partly to help avoid the players becoming to dependent on the success found with aluminum bats.  But also because as players are stronger than before, the speed in which the ball comes off an aluminum bat is faster and faster.  It makes it more dangerous for pitchers and infielders.  However, this debate could go on for a very long time.  Now you know the differences between an aluminum and wood bat so you can use this to help with the decision of which bat to use.

To read more about baseball equipment please check out Breaking in a Baseball Glove.  It will give you tips on how to break in a baseball glove quickly.  It speaks about different products and techniques to use.

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