December 2, 2021

Not cricket? Scientists advise bamboo bats are a match for willow | Elements science

3 min read

Cricket has been bowled a googly by experts who have instructed the common willow utilised to make bats could be replaced by bamboo to boost their sustainability and boost the sport’s attain.

“Willow has been the principal material for cricket bats for centuries,” reported Dr Darshil Shah at the University of Cambridge, who co-authored the study.

But irrespective of a great innings, there are issues with the provide of English willow. It takes about 15 years ahead of a tree can be harvested, following which new trees will have to be planted. Among 15% and 30% of the wood is also squandered through bat production.

Shah, who employed to engage in for Thailand’s under-19 nationwide cricket staff and now performs for a nearby team, reported that by distinction bamboo – a grass – is a cheap, plentiful, rapid expanding and sustainable product. Shoots are in a position to develop from preceding stumps, and maturity is arrived at right after seven several years.

“It is also pretty widespread in international locations that are having up cricket this kind of as China, Japan, South The us as perfectly,” he explained.

Crafting in the Journal of Sporting activities Engineering and Technology, the crew expose that their prototype bat blade was built from strips of bamboo shoots stuck together with a resin adhesive and fashioned into levels.

The staff ended up bowled more than by the effectiveness of the bat, getting it was stiffer, more difficult and stronger than these produced of willow, although a lot more brittle. It also experienced a similar vibration effectiveness, this means it sounds comparable when striking a ball.

“It is heavier than a willow bat, and we are looking to optimise that,” explained Shah.

The bamboo bat also has a larger sized “sweet spot”, and this is nearer to the toe of the bat. “The sweet location is a area on the bat where by, when the ball hits on to that region, the ball flies away in substantial pace,” explained Shah, indicating the bamboo bats present far more scope to strike the ball more.

But would this be, properly, cricket?

Shah explained that the use of bamboo would be inside the “spirit of the game” as it is a plant-based material, when even the blades of willow bats are evolving – for case in point turning out to be thicker. But the notion could be on a sticky wicket: cricket polices stipulate that bat blades have to be created of wooden, that means bamboo bats would most very likely be utilized for training or recreational online games.

Prof Mark Miodownik, an engineer and supplies scientist and director of the Institute of Building at University Higher education London, who was not included in the investigation, welcomed the review and said it confirmed a probable new use for bamboo.

“However just due to the fact bamboo is additional abundant than willow does not necessarily mean bats produced from it would be more sustainable,” he stated. “The full existence cycle of manufacturing, together with the manufacture of the laminating resins and their disposal, needs to be regarded as. Do these resins biodegrade for occasion? If not, this could be LBW for this new product.”

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