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Nanotechnology In Tennis Racquets

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It is claimed that the development of organic and inorganic nanomaterials will address the contemporary needs of consumers, healthcare, transportation, energy and agriculture.

Rationale

  • Wooden racquets are stiff and not strong enough to support tension in the strings without breaking
  • For wooden racquets to become stiff and durable it would be fairly heavy and usually weighed 370-430 grams.
  • Flexible racquets made from wood absorbed more energy from impact, with more energy going into the bending of the material (Davis, Swinbank, 2010)

Reviewing these statistics validates that wooden tennis racquets weren’t strong and stiff enough to support the athlete’s needs. The heavy wooden racquets are inexpensive however they have poor performance. According to Claire Davis and Elizabeth Swinbank “a wooden racquet will deflect more than a standard sized racquet, the low strength of wood means that the racquet head needs to be smaller to resist the weight and tensions experienced when hitting the ball to avoid breakage.”

The claim that the development of organic and inorganic nanomaterials will address the contemporary needs of consumers, healthcare, transportation, energy and agriculture. Carbon nanotubes is the organic nanomaterial that will address the need of tennis racquets. Carbon nanotubes are stronger and more powerful aiding in athletic performance (Beal, n.d.).

Nanomaterials are synthetically-engineered substances which may either be particles that are between 1-100nm in size or are materials which have an internal structure measurable by the nanoscale (Lichtarowicz, 2019). Many consumer products and everyday objects used contains nanomaterials such as cosmetics and electronics.

The use of nanomaterials has been used in many different areas of manufacture as well as agriculture; however, the effectiveness of objects which incorporate these materials compared to the object without the incorporation of these materials has not been found. Using the literature, it will be found whether the use of nanomaterials has improved the tennis racquet.

Research Question

How does graphite-based carbon nanotubes increase the durability and strength of the frames in tennis racquets to enhance athletic performance?

Background

The use of nanomaterials in the manufacturing of sports equipment has remarkably impacted the sports industry. The benefits of nanomaterials are abundant, including reduced friction, reduced weight and increase wear resistance. Nanomaterials have assisted in keeping sports equipment sturdy and lightweight as well as making athletes feel safer, comfy and less prone to injuries (Sportsvenue-Technology, n.d.).

Tennis racquets have been modified to contain a nanomaterial called carbon nanotubes. The nanotubes are, supposedly, added to the frames to increase the strength, stability and power when hitting a tennis ball (Boysen, 2007). This is done in order to improve athlete performance.

As stated in the International Journal of Science and Research, in 2002 the tennis racquet company, Babolat, introduced the V.S. Nanotube Power racquet (2013). The racquet was made from carbon nanotube infused graphite. The addition of the nanomaterial resulted in a lighter and more powerful racquet (International Journal of Science and Research, 2013).

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The carbon nanotubes in tennis racquets are sheets of graphite that have been rolled into a cylinder. The ends are covered with buckminsterfullerene (buckyball). The nanotubes are up to 1nm in diameter. The carbon nanotubes are aligned into ropes by intermolecular bonding (Essential Chemical Industry, 2013).

Buckminsterfullerene is a molecule also known as a buckyball that is composed of 60 carbon atoms formed in the shape of a hollow ball (Engineering and Technology History Wiki, 2015). Buckminsterfullerene make up nanotubes and can bounce, return to their own shape, and spin at amazingly high speeds.

Analysis and Interpretation

The structure of carbon nanotubes plays an important role in ensuring that tennis racquets are strong and lightweight. As stated by Herschel Watkins, carbon nanotubes are very strong mainly because they consist of a single chain of unbroken molecular carbon-carbon bonds. At each step there are more carbon-carbon bonds therefore ruining a carbon nanotube requires breaking several molecular bonds (2016). Carbon nanotubes are able to twist and bend without actually ruining the bonds however they cannot stretch very far before the bonds break. Carbon nanotubes are super strong.

Composite materials are formed by combining two or more materials that have different properties (Williams, n.d.). The materials don’t bond or blend. Composites are made using carbon nanotubes. According to Jim Williams (n.d.) carbon nanotubes are stronger than metals. The table below shows how much stronger composite materials made out of carbon nanotubes are. Tennis racquets made out of composite materials have a mass of 295 grams however tennis racquets made out of wood have a mass of 380 grams. This shows that composite materials containing carbon nanotubes is lighter than wood. Composite materials have a stiffness of 150 hertz however wood has a stiffness of 100 hertz. The traditional wooden racquets were very flexible and they would absorb a lot of energy which results in a loss of power. The modern racquets are stiffer and more powerful which means that it will deflect more energy or power (Miller,2006).

The evolution of tennis racquets has resulted in an increase in the server speed. The trend shown in the graph shows that each year there is about a 15% increase in the speed. The racquets used by the players are improved every year and help with their speed. At the beginning of the graph during 2002 the rackets used were wooden rackets and towards the end of the graph the more modern composite racquets were used. Therefore, it shows how important using the right tennis racquet is and the effects that wooden and composite racquets have on athletic performance.

The graph below shows the strength of carbon nanotubes compared to diamond, carbon fibre, kevlar, titanium, stainless steel and aluminium. Carbon nanotubes have the highest strength because of the carbon-carbon bonds. Carbon nanotubes also have the highest stiffness. This is very useful in tennis racquets as it increases control and power when the ball is hit. Choosing the right racket with the right stiffness is vital to ensure that it is comfortable for the player.

Although there are advantages to using carbon nanotubes there has been an increase in injuries (Miller, 2006). The increase in stiffness results in an increase in vibration which causes Carbon nanotubes also have the highest stiffness. elbow injuries. The racket may be swung faster and causes a decrease in mass which generates a shock to the hand. However, there isn’t much evidence that has been produced to suggest that the use of carbon nanotubes is the cause of injuries (Miller, 2006).

There are several limitations to the evidence. The evidence wasn’t as detailed as it could be, more graphs and table should be included to further justify the conclusion. The information researched didn’t specifically display carbon nanotubes in the graphs. The graphs showed composite materials and they didn’t specifically specify what type of composite materials.

Conclusion and Evaluation

From the evidence and research gathered it can be concluded that graphite-based carbon nanotubes help improve tennis racquets. The development of organic nanomaterials is important to meet the needs of tennis racquets. How graphite-based carbon nanotubes increase the durability and strength of the frames in tennis racquets to enhance athletic performance has been justified. The research and evidence justify the research question and the claim. The addition of the nanomaterial results in a much more powerful, controllable and comfortable tennis racquet (Boysen, 2007). The tennis racquets are more powerful and contain more energy which helps enhance athletic performance. In conclusion it is reasonable to say that graphite-based carbon nanotubes are an effective organic nanomaterial that improves tennis racquets.

The investigation contained limited data and was conducted to test the durability and strength of tennis racquets. To further justify the outcomes and support the claim more studies and research related to the strength and durability of tennis racquets should be conducted. The research and studies should specifically talk about carbon nanotubes and how the different materials used have affected the strength and durability of tennis racquets. Therefore, more research and studies should be conducted to further refine this investigation to see the impacts that carbon nanotubes have on tennis racquets that aid in athletic performance.

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Nanotechnology In Tennis Racquets. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/nanotechnology-in-tennis-racquets/
“Nanotechnology In Tennis Racquets.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/nanotechnology-in-tennis-racquets/
Nanotechnology In Tennis Racquets. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/nanotechnology-in-tennis-racquets/> [Accessed 1 Feb. 2023].
Nanotechnology In Tennis Racquets [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Feb 1]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/nanotechnology-in-tennis-racquets/
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