UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Shape Optimization of a Wooden Baseball Bat Using Parametric Modeling and Genetic Algorithms Mazloomi, Mohammad Sadegh; Evans, P. D. (Philip D.)


Baseball is a popular and very lucrative bat-and-ball sport that uses a wooden bat to score runs. We hypothesize that new design features for baseball bats will emerge from their shape optimization using parametric modeling and genetic algorithms. We converge the location of two points on bats made from maple (Acer sp.) and ash (Fraxinus sp.) wood that are associated with increased velocity of a ball rebounding off a bat: vibrational nodal points and the center of percussion (COP). Our modeling and optimization approach was able to reduce the distance between the nodal points and COP from 166.0 mm to 52.1 mm. This change was similar in both wood species and resulted from changes to the geometry of the bat, specifically shifting of the mass of the bat toward the center of the barrel and removing mass from the very end of the barrel. We conclude that the combination of parametric finite element modeling and optimization using genetic algorithms is a powerful tool for exploring virtual designs for baseball bats that are based on performance criteria and suggest that our designs could be realized in practice using subtractive manufacturing technology.

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