Sleeker Sporting Goods through Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology and sporting goods are a logical match when you consider that nano can make things lighter, bouncier, stronger, or more flexible. From tennis to skiing, nanotechnology is a player.

Nano makes tennis balls bounce longer

Wilson has introduced a Double Core technology in their tennis balls that uses a nanocomposite coating that makes balls bounce twice as long as other balls. The nanocomposite coating used in these balls is a mix of rubber and nanoclay particles that provides a gas barrier that slows down the loss of pressurized air in the ball. This nanocomposite material allows you to use the ball longer at full performance.

The tennis balls are currently manufactured by InMat LLC.

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Nanotech scores with lightweight powerful racquets

Wilson Sporting Goods started using nanotech in their racquets in 2004 with the introduction of nCode tennis racquets, which contain silicon dioxide nanoparticles that fill gaps between carbon fibers in the racquet strings to add strength.

Then in 2007, Wilson started selling tennis racquets with the [K] Factor designation, in which the silicon dioxide nanoparticles not only fill the gaps between the carbon fibers but are also bonded to the carbon fibers, which produces a better feel and a more stable racquet.

And in 2010, Wilson introduced the BLX line of racquets which replaces the carbon fibers with basalt fibers while keeping the silicon nanoparticles to bond the basalt fibers together. Wilson states that this reduces vibration in the racquet and gives players better control. Basalt fibers also cost significantly less than carbon fibers, so Wilson may be reducing its cost, as well.

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A company called Yonex makes racquets using carbon nanotubes and functionalized buckyballs that bind to carbon fibers in badminton and tennis racquets to optimize power and flex while keeping the racquets lightweight.

Tee up with nanotechnology

For those interested in golfing, you should know that a few companies are using nanotechnology to make a golf club that makes golf balls go faster and farther.

Yonex has a Nanospeed line of golf clubs that uses carbon nanotubes, which they say makes the club heads stronger and transfers energy through the shaft more efficiently, which translates into golf balls that travel faster. Another company using nano for lightweight and efficient drivers is Maruman with its Exim Nano line of clubs.

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Lots of athletics made better by nanotechnology

A few more applications of nanotechnology in the sports arena include:

  • Cycling: Easton Cycling uses carbon nanotubes in a resin to reinforce the carbon fibers in their handlebars and cranks. This process increases the stiffness of the handlebars and cranks while keeping them lightweight.

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  • Skiing: Holmenkol has a ski wax called nano-CFC that uses nanocomposites. Using this wax increases what they call “abrasion resistance” and water repellency, which make the skis glide better and faster on snow.

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  • Fishing: The St. Croix Rod Company is using nanoparticles of silica in a resin they call NSi (Nano Silica). NSi fills the space between carbon fibers in their fishing rods, which they say results in a 30 percent stronger rod that’s still lightweight and flexible.

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  • Kayaking: The Norwegian research company ReTurn AS has developed an epoxy gelcoat that has been modified with carbon nanotubes to treat the outer skin of kayaks. This coating makes the kayaks more resistant to abrasion and cracks.

  • Archery: Easton Archery makes arrows with a resin containing carbon nanotubes in their N-FUSED CARBON AXIS arrows. This resin produces lightweight arrows that are stronger and control vibration better.

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