Ball sports such as tennis or badminton are popular among all age groups. Players must be agile and nimble. They need strong muscles to deliver a proper stroke. And they need the right equipment: clothes, a ball, a net. And these require plastics. Without plastics, athletes would play their balls without shoes, rackets – and even naked.
It’s not only tennis players that move swiftly. A tennis ball also travels fast, easily reaching over 200 km/h shortly after a service stroke. Speeds of over 250 km/h have even been measured in some instances. Squash is even faster. The little black ball can accelerate to over 280 km/h. The world record for badminton is even more than an incredible 400 km/h.
Enormous speeds that are realised thanks to particularly gifted people and their exceptional talent, but also thanks to high-quality equipment such as balls and rackets.
Rackets often used to be made of wood, and the hitting surface consisted of gut stringing. This combination of materials has now given way to a versatile combination of materials in tennis, squash and badminton: carbon.
The term carbon refers to CFRP, a high-performance material reinforced with carbon fibres. It is not only extremely strong and rigid, but also very light. The embedded fibres provide the material with optimum preparation for the challenges of the game.
And the robust rackets even look heavier than they actually are. The frame of a modern badminton racket weighs significantly less than 100 grammes. A tennis racket weighs less than 300 grammes. Nevertheless, they are able to withstand the enormous forces of a game unscathed.
But plastics can do more than just provide quality rackets. Without plastics there would be no net, no ball, no shoes and not even the right sportswear. Plastics not only help athletes to achieve high performance and set records, they also make this popular sport possible in the first place. Plastics keep you moving – not only when playing tennis, squash or badminton, but almost everywhere where individual top performances are achieved. Plastics are used in many different and individual ways, but are always reliable.
Photo credit: iStock.com/PabloBenitezLope , iStock.com/Bobex-73