Sports Engineering

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 265–272 | Cite as

Measuring the accuracy of softball impact simulations

  • Lloyd SmithEmail author
  • Derek Nevins
  • Ngo Tien Dat
  • Pascal Fua
Original Article


A study has been conducted to review viscoelastic and foam-constitutive models to describe sport ball response to impact with a rigid cylindrical surface. The impact model was developed to simulate a ball–bat collision. Comparisons were made to actual impacts, utilizing displacements recorded and analyzed using high-speed video capture. The resulting images and the ball geometry before impact were used as input to a computer-vision algorithm, which then produced a quantitative description of the deformation during impact. Foam-based material models were observed to match this observed deformation better (within 1 %) than viscoelastic material models (within 5 %). Both viscoelastic and foam material models deviated more from experimental data when describing dissipated energy and stiffness than when describing deformation. When describing impact energy dissipation and ball stiffness, the viscoelastic models deviated from experiment by more than a factor of two, while the foam material models exhibited up to 35 % error. The measured ball deformation, afforded through video analysis, has shown that foam material models are better able to describe ball impacts involving large energy dissipation, but require further refinement before equipment performance and design can be reliably performed.


Foam Material Model Displacement Response Viscoelastic Model Ball Impact 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Bathke T (1998) Baseball Impact Simulation, Senior Thesis: Brown UniveristyGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mustone T, Sherwood J (2000) Using LS-DYNA to develop a baseball bat performance and design tool. Detroit, MIGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sandmeyer BJ (1994) Simulation of bat/ball impacts using finite element analysis, Master’s Thesis: Oregon State UniversityGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Smith LV, Duris JG (2009) Progress and challenges in numerically modeling solid sports balls with application to softballs. J Sports Sci 27(4):353–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Burbank SD, Smith LV (2012) Dynamic characterization of rigid polyurethane foam used in sports balls. Sports Eng Technol 226:77–85Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hendee SP, Greenwald RM, Crisco JJ (1998) Static and dynamic properties of various baseballs. J Appl Biomech 14(4):390–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ranga D, Strangwood M (2010) Finite element modelling of the quasi-static and dynamic behaviour of a solid sports ball based on component material properties, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Smith LV, Nathan AM, Duris JG (2010) A determination fo the dynamic response of softballs. Sports Eng 12(4):163–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Allen T, Haake S, Goodwill S (2009) Comparison of a finite element model of a tennis racket to experimental data. Sports Eng 12(2):87–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Choppin S, Goodwill S, Haake S (2010) Investigations into the effect of grip tightness on off-centre forehand strikes in tennis. Proc Inst Mech Eng Part P J Sports Eng Technol 224(4):249–257Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Smith LV, Kensrud J (2014) Field and laboratory measurements of softball player swing speed. Sports Eng 17(2):75–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Salzmann M, Moreno-Noguer F, Lepetit V, Fua P (2008) Closed-form solution to non-rigid 3D surface registration. Marseille, FRANCECrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Salzmann M, Fua P (2010) Deformable surface 3D reconstruction from monocular images, Morgan-ClaypoolGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Perriollat M, Hartley R, Bartoli A (2011) Monocular template-based reconstruction of inextensible surfaces. Int J Comput Vision 95(2):124–137MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ngo D, Ostlund J, Fua P (2016) Template-based monocular 3D shape recovery using Laplacian meshes. Pattern Anal Mach Intell (PAMI) 38(1):172–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bryson A, Smith L (2010) Impact response of sports materials. Austria, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Nathan AM, Smith LV, Faber WL (2011) Reducing the effect of the ball on bat performance measurements. Sports Technol 4(1):19–28Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chang F (1995) Development of LSDYNA3D Foam Material Type 83Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Benson DJ, Kolling S, Bois PAD (2006) A simplified approach for strain-rate dependent hyperelastic materials with damage. In: 9th International LS-DYNA Users Conference, vol 15. Dearborn, MIGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Nevins D, Smith L (2014) Methods for Modeling Solid Sports Ball Impacts. In: 13th International LS-DYNA Conference, DearbornGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Nevins D,Smith L (2013) Influence of ball properties on simulated ball-to-head impacts. In: 6th Asia-Pacific Conference on Sports Technology, The Impact of Technology on Sports, Hong KongGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Sports Engineering Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lloyd Smith
    • 1
    Email author
  • Derek Nevins
    • 1
  • Ngo Tien Dat
    • 2
  • Pascal Fua
    • 2
  1. 1.Washington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.École Polytechnique FédéraleLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations