Wood science addressed Major League Baseball's bat shattering challenge. Though it may be a past time, discoveries related to wood grain performance could have applications for other wood components that endure stress, such as chair legs.
A research team found that inconsistency of wood quality, primarily the manufacturing detail "slope of grain," for all species of wood used in Major League bat manufacture was the main cause of broken bats.
Low-density maple bats were found to not only crack but shatter into multiple pieces more often than ash bats or higher-density maple bats. Multiple-piece failure in shattered bats can pose a danger on the field and to fans.
TECO, a third-party wood inspection service, the Madison, WI-based Forest Products Laboratory established manufacturing changes that have proven remarkably successful over time. Limits to bat geometry dimensions, wood density restrictions, and wood drying recommendations have all contributed to the dramatic decrease in multiple-piece failures, even as maple's popularity is on the upswing.
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