Tennis and Badminton
Given that tennis greats such as Venus Williams can hit balls at speeds reaching nearly 130 mph, strength and durability are key when it comes to the design and manufacture of tennis rackets. Pierre Mace, Connected Experience research and development manager for French tennis and badminton racket manufacturer Babolat, notes that composites are the ideal choice for creating rackets because they provide the best possible balance of rigidity and strength with light weight.
“To manufacture tennis rackets, we create a hollow preform by hand lay-up, then bend it to the shape of the racket and place it in a mold with internal pressure using an air bladder,” Mace explains.
Mace adds that racket manufacturers are constantly making slight improvements in the manufacturing process, the cross section design of the rackets and the general design of the rackets’ frames, but the materials used tend to be consistent. Companies like Babolat primarily use carbon fibers reinforced with epoxy resin to construct its rackets.
Many rackets also use synthetic strings made from extruded nylon, polyester, Kevlar or a combination of those fibers. According to the International Tennis Federation, polyester and Kevlar provide a significant boost in durability compared to nylon fibers or natural gut strings.