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# Center of percussion

The center of percussion is the point on an object where a perpendicular impact will produce translational and rotational forces which perfectly cancel each other out at some given pivot point, so that the pivot will not be moving momentarily after the impulse.

Centers of percussion are often discussed in the context of a bat, racquet, sword or other long thin objects. The center of percussion may or may not be the "sweet spot" depending on the pivot point chosen.

Further explanation

Imagine a beam is suspended from a wire by a U-bolt so that it can move freely along the wire. A blow to the beam below the center of gravity will cause the beam to rotate around the CG (center of gravity) and also cause the CG to move away from the blow. If the blow falls above the CP (center of percussion) the movement of the CG will cause the U-bolt to move away from the blow since the effect of the translational acceleration will outweigh the effect of the rotational acceleration. If the blow falls below the CP the opposite will occur, rotational acceleration will outweigh translational acceleration and the U-bolt will move towards the blow. Only if the blow falls exactly on the CP will the two cancel out to produce no net movement of the U-bolt.

Calculating the center of percussion

For any free, rigid body a force F applied at a right angle at a distance b from the center of gravity (CoG) will result in the CoG moving at a velocity V according to the relation:

:$F=Mfrac\left\{dV\right\}\left\{dt\right\}$

Where M is the mass of the beam. Similarly the torque exerted will be as per the relation:

:$Fb=Ifrac\left\{domega\right\}\left\{dt\right\}$

Where I is the moment of inertia around the CoG and $omega$ is the angular velocity.

For any point P on the opposite side of the CoG from the point of impact:

:$v=V-Aomega$

Where A is the distance of P from the CoG and v is the velocity of point P. Hence:

:$frac\left\{dv\right\}\left\{dt\right\}=left\left(frac\left\{1\right\}\left\{M\right\}-frac\left\{Ab\right\}\left\{I\right\} ight\right)F$

v is then given by:

:$v=left\left(frac\left\{1\right\}\left\{M\right\}-frac\left\{Ab\right\}\left\{I\right\} ight\right)int F dt$

The axis of rotation is situated where $v=0$ and the corresponding center of percussion is at distance b from the CoG where:

:$b=frac\left\{I\right\}\left\{AM\right\}$

This is also the center of oscillation of a physical pendulum of the same mass M, hung at the pivot point, (the center of oscillation is the position of the mass of a simple pendulum, that has the same period as the physical pendulum.) [ [http://www.kettering.edu/~drussell/bats-new/cop.html What is the COP and does it matter? ] ]

Center of percussion of a uniform beam

For the special case of a free beam of uniform density of length L the moment of inertia around the CoG is:

:$I=frac\left\{ML^2\right\}\left\{12\right\}$ (see moment of inertia for proof)

Hence:

:$b=frac\left\{L^2\right\}\left\{12A\right\}$

Relation to the sweet spot

The sweet spot on a baseball bat is generally defined as the point at which the impact feels best to the batter (it is also occasionally defined as the point at which the maximum velocity is imparted to the ball, but this may not be the same point).

Although it has long been believed the center of percussion and the sweet spot are the same, recent practical observations have indicated that the point many batters feel is "sweetest" corresponds to a pivot point not in the handle of the bat but beyond the end of the bat.Fact|date=March 2007 The reality of, and explanation for, this anomaly are currently areas of active research.

Application to swordmaking

The center of percussion, or sweet spot, of a sword is the point on the blade where cutting is most effective. It is also the division between the "weak" and "middle" sections of the blade.

Like any solid object, a sword vibrates when impacted (such as during cutting). In a sword, such vibrational waves are typically almost imperceptible. Every wave expressed by a solid object has rotational nodes where the wave reverses at either end of the object. On a properly-balanced sword, one node is in the tang of the sword (inside the hilt), ideally directly under the primary hand. The other is the "center of percussion". On such a “harmonically balanced” sword, this means that a solid blow can be delivered without causing discomfort in the hands. The center of percussion of a sword is related to its center of balance, and both can be moved by employing a heavier pommel or changing the mass distribution of the blade.

So-called “blade harmonics” are a commonly misunderstood concept, especially by sword enthusiasts and their internet communities. The common belief is that a sword must be “harmonically balanced” in order to cut properly, because the vibrations would otherwise interrupt the line and power of the cut. As explained above, this proposition is false: the vibrations caused by a sword cut are almost unnoticeable except as a mild stinging to the hands even in blades that lack this quality. It has also been demonstrated that the object the sword cuts through serves to further reduce the intensity of any vibration, making it even less noticeable.

Many experts speculate that harmonic balance is merely a byproduct of proper construction and balancing, rather than an intentional quality added to weapons. Unfortunately, some sword vendors advertise "secret techniques" of harmonic balancing in an attempt to "prove" the superiority of their products. This only serves to amplify the false impressions of the value of harmonic balance by seeming to lend them legitimacy.

Literature
* George Turner [http://www.thearma.org/spotlight/GTA/motions_and_impacts.htm Sword Motions and Impacts: An Investigation and Analysis]

References

ee also

*Weight distribution

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### Look at other dictionaries:

• Center of percussion — Percussion Per*cus sion, n. [L. percussio: cf. F. percussion. See {Percuss}.] 1. The act of percussing, or striking one body against another; forcible collision, esp. such as gives a sound or report. Sir I. Newton. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence: The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

• Center of percussion — Center Cen ter, n. [F. centre, fr. L. centrum, fr. round which a circle is described, fr. ? to prick, goad.] 1. A point equally distant from the extremities of a line, figure, or body, or from all parts of the circumference of a circle; the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

• center of percussion — the point in a body free to move about a fixed axis at which the body may be squarely struck without jarring the axis * * * Mech. the point on a rigid body, suspended so as to be able to move freely about a fixed axis, at which the body may be… …   Useful english dictionary

• center of percussion — smūgio centras statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. center of percussion vok. Stoßmittelpunkt, m; Stoßzentrum, n rus. центр удара, m pranc. centre de choc, m …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

• center of percussion — Mech. the point on a rigid body, suspended so as to be able to move freely about a fixed axis, at which the body may be struck without changing the position of the axis. [1720 30] * * * …   Universalium

• Percussion — Per*cus sion, n. [L. percussio: cf. F. percussion. See {Percuss}.] 1. The act of percussing, or striking one body against another; forcible collision, esp. such as gives a sound or report. Sir I. Newton. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence: The effect of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

• Percussion bullet — Percussion Per*cus sion, n. [L. percussio: cf. F. percussion. See {Percuss}.] 1. The act of percussing, or striking one body against another; forcible collision, esp. such as gives a sound or report. Sir I. Newton. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence: The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

• Percussion cap — Percussion Per*cus sion, n. [L. percussio: cf. F. percussion. See {Percuss}.] 1. The act of percussing, or striking one body against another; forcible collision, esp. such as gives a sound or report. Sir I. Newton. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence: The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

• Percussion fuze — Percussion Per*cus sion, n. [L. percussio: cf. F. percussion. See {Percuss}.] 1. The act of percussing, or striking one body against another; forcible collision, esp. such as gives a sound or report. Sir I. Newton. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence: The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

• Percussion lock — Percussion Per*cus sion, n. [L. percussio: cf. F. percussion. See {Percuss}.] 1. The act of percussing, or striking one body against another; forcible collision, esp. such as gives a sound or report. Sir I. Newton. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence: The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English