Join Date: Dec 2004
I think your overall conclusion is probably right--that a sliding mass is not beneficial, although it might be less troublesome in an executioner's sword.
I won't pretend to be a physics expert, but I do know a few things about swords and rods.
One thing that confused me was the difference between center of inertia and center of gravity. These are different because....?
So far as the vibrational nodes go, my limited observations are that straight swords are quite a bit like rods: the vibrational nodes are at the geometric center and the quarters. HOWEVER, the center of gravity doesn't have to be at any of these points. To give a crude example: imagine a rod two- thirds metal. It should be obvious to most people that the point of balance will be fairly close to the center of the metal part, because the wood is much lighter. In a sword with a heavy pommel and lighter blade, you can put the center of gravity and/or inertia pretty much where you want it.
So far as longer blades having bigger sweet spots due to higher vibrational frequency, I'll admit that I'm confused too. I agree that the longer blade should have a bigger sweet spot, but I'd bet a fair amount that it would have a lower frequency, just because it's longer. This is the same reason that cellos generally play lower than violins: the frequency is lower, not higher, in a longer string. I'm guessing that the word we're looking for is longer wavelength and bigger amplitude.
However, I'm still very glad that we had an engineer look at it. Now, if someone will get out there with the PVC tub and ball bearings, and find out what a sliding weight feels like when you swing it, we can all rest easily....