Bats, Physics & Aerodynamics (Oh My)

I come to you with a plea for help in the form of leads, ideas, and resources, and then invite a discussion on the topic that is the basis for said plea...The topic is bats...

One of my 8th grade students -- we'll call him I.P. Freely, since that's who appears on every sign-up list we post at the school -- is building baseball bats from scratch as part of a big 8th grade project. He has already built one and it's beautiful, though not of ideal length/weight proportions (it came out something like 37 inches / 40 ounces).

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I.P. plans to make another bat with the tip hollowed out, and try ones with varying lengths, gradations of widths from handle-to-tip, types of wood, and so on.

Part of the project involves I.P. learning as much as he can about the physics that are involved in making good baseball bats -- that is, ones likely to have a bigger "sweet spot" and a smaller "tendency to crack the second time it makes contact with a baseball."

My question to you is: Can you help me (him) identify good resources for learning about the physics of baseball bats? Are there books or articles you can point us to? Are there any experts lurking in our community who could, and would be willing to, be a resource for I.P.?

Meanwhile, perhaps you would to talk about bats -- what you know and what you wonder about these strange creatures who hang upside down. And thanks in advance for any help you can give.

As for me, by the way I'm leaving AN to join the priesthood. Or pursue my dream of being a lion tamer. Or something.

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