Path and Range of a Baseball
Editor's note: for sake of simplicity, we will assume that the baseball will hit the bat in the "ideal" place.
I. What is the Path of a Baseball?
In an ideal situation, whenever a ball is hit,
it will fly in a parabolic path
(In real life situations, factors like wind need to be accounted for,
but for now we'll discuss this if we are in an ideal situation).
Before we go in depth as to why this happens,
it is necessary to know what is affecting the ball.
A few hundred years back,
Sir Issac Newton
created three important laws that stands as pillars of
These laws are:
All right, here are the laws in plain English, they are actually quite simple:
- Law 1. An object continues in its initial state of rest or motion with uniform velocity unless it is acted on by an unbalanced, or net external, force.
- Law 2. The acceleration of an object is inversely proportional to its mass and directly proportional to the net external force acting on it.
- Law 3. Forces always occur in pairs.
Okay, so what do all these laws have to do with the path of a baseball?
- Law 1. Unless you do something to an object, it will not move.
- Law 2. F=ma (This will be explained later on, but if you
really want to know.
- Law 3. If you push an object, it will push back.
Well, everything. When the ball is hit by the bat, the bat exchanges its
momentum to the ball and the ball flies away.
While the ball flies, both gravity and air will exert a force on the ball,
with gravity pulling the ball downward. Here are all the forces that are
effecting the ball:
Forces affecting a ball
When you derive the equation of the ball through physics, you find out that
the ball will travel in a parabolic path.
So, was this a piece of cake for you? If
you have some physics experience, you may want to hear
Dell has to say about this next question: How far
will the ball go?.