Softball

What are softball bats are made of?

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2011-01-11 20:30:13
2011-01-11 20:30:13

Wood: Wood softball bats are very rare but are slowly regaining favor with softball enthusiasts who would rather hear a whack and not a ping when the bat meets ball. A wood softball bat is bottle-shaped and can weigh between 32-35 ounces (around 8 ounces heavier than an aluminum bat). Traditionally, wood bats have been made from ash. However, ash is light and soft and bats made from ash tend to splinter and dent fast. Wood from maple, oak, and bamboo is also used for these bats. Maple is harder and its grain is denser as compared to ash, making it less susceptible to splintering and chafing. Bats made from Chinese bamboo are the closest wood bat equivalent of an aluminum bat. Bamboo is extremely light-weight and ha a tensile strength higher than that of steel.

Aluminum: The increased research and engineering in the science of bat making has resulted in high-tech aluminum softball bats that can cost upward of $300. Aluminum bats are lighter thereby enabling batters to generate greater bat speed and control. They are stronger and more durable than wood bats and they do not break; however, they may dent or crack over a period of time. Aluminum bats are available in different alloy and weight combinations. Light aluminum alloys that are thinner are more resilient and provide a larger hitting zone or "sweet spot". Aluminum bats are made in single-layer and double-layer combinations; double-layer bats are used by the power-hitters.

Graphite/Titanium lined: Aluminum bats are lined with graphite or titanium. These light, durable, and strong materials are added to aluminum bats with thin walls in order to make the bats lighter. Lighter bats help batters to generate more power in their swing. Bats lined with graphite or titanium have a greater hitting zone or "sweet spot". These materials are shock-absorbent as well and aid in reducing the shock felt when a stroke is mistimed.

Composite materials: Bats made from composite materials such as carbon, glass, or Kevlar are light weight, rigid, and sturdy. Composite materials enable bat manufacturers to incorporate varying strengths and stiffness in different parts of a bat. The result is a bat with stiff bat handles for greater control, low stiffness hitting areas for better performance and reduced shock, and differentiated swing weights. Bats made from composite materials have a large hitting surface with a more pronounced "sweet spot". However, the extreme velocities at which the ball rebounds off the bat can pose a safety hazard to the pitcher who has to react in a very limited time.

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