Polyurethane Advances Tennis Racket Technology
Thanks to polyurethane, and a bit of innovation, tennis racket technology is evolving to accommodate a more modern style of play.
Many athletes on the court today favor power and spin in their tennis games. To achieve both, players must strike the ball, using the top of the racket face, rather than hitting the ball with the middle of the racket. While effective, striking the ball repeatedly in this manner can tax a player’s arm and result in fatigue or even injury.
The TPU Solution
To accommodate this aggressive style of play, the team at Dunlop mobilized to create the first racket made with BASF’s Infinergy®, the world’s first expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
BASF’s expanded TPU, unveiled in 2013 and dubbed Infinergy®, was first popularized in high-performance running shoes. It can now be found across a variety of applications and sports, helping to advance performance.
BASF and Dunlop worked together to create a racket surface – similar to the face of a watch –that offers cushioning and also provides high rebound, speed and lightweight performance for players.
According to test results, the use of expanded TPU in the new rackets resulted in faster ball speeds by up to two percent and a significant dampening of vibrations by up to 37 percent when compared to a standard carbon fiber tennis racket.
Slated for full release in 2019, the rackets are already being used by professional men’s tennis players in some of summer’s biggest tournaments.