There are a variety of materials used in the making of tennis rackets. Wooden tennis rackets have been in use since 1872, and their basic design has been the same forever.
The wooden frame is developed by reinforcing with metal strips, which also provide additional stiffness to the frame. It creates a perfect balance between power and control.
At the other end of the spectrum are modern carbon fiber tennis rackets with aluminum or graphite shafts.
Their light weight is ideal for speed and they have a larger hitting area than wooden ones which helps produce more power on shots with topspin.
The tennis rackets in today’s time are now known to undergo a more delicate process in order to provide great strength and mechanical support to the players.
A few common raw materials for manufacturing tennis rackets include
Wood is a good choice for beginners and intermediates as it produces a more stable racket than graphite or aluminum. The wooden base of rackets is usually from the paulownia tree.
In order to produce the best performance possible, wood must be finely cut, dry and glued together.
After finishing this process, this frame undergoes coating of an undercoat of lacquer.
This coating helps to prevent the surface from absorbing moisture and causing warping or cracking.
After coating is done on the entire frame, the racket is ready for final finishing such as polishing and painting.
The graphite in tennis rackets is a composite material. It is made up of layers of carbon with mixture of resins to make the material flexible and strong.
As part of the production process, graphite is put under ground to get its powder form. This powder then goes for processing with resin and plasticizers to mold into the final shape.
After completing the production process and creating a permanent shape, the process of finishing starts.
It involves using various paints and clear coatings to make it last longer.
Graphite also has an inherent stability that makes it excellent for blocking frictional impact that occurs during play.
While wood and graphite are the most common materials for manufacturing tennis rackets, some companies have come up with aluminum racket hybrids.
These hybrid rackets combine the weight-saving benefits of aluminum with the stiffness and durability of wooden components, making them ideal for serious players.
Aluminum rackets processing has a similar way to that of graphite, except that the aluminum rackets do not anodizing.
This is a process in which a coating of the aluminum surface is done on the racket with electrolytic oxidation.
- Boron and Kevlar
Some rackets are made with carbon fiber and Kevlar instead of graphite.
Boron is also a common name in the preparation of some models of rackets to increase the stiffness and stability of the racket.
The process of manufacturing these rackets is slight different.
A Boron base racket involves the mixing of materials together to form a mold for shaping before baking them in an oven.
Materials used in Making Grip of Rackets
Most people would think that the grip material on a tennis racket is rubber, but that is not the case.
Rubber is among one of the elements used in making a handle of a tennis racket but not as a grip material.
Grip materials come in different varieties, including leather, synthetic and composite materials.
The most common name of grip material is leather which gives great feel and control. However, it does not last long and leather grips can get wet easily after sweating.
Synthetic grips are becoming more popular as players want to try different options for improving their performance.
The main problem with synthetic grips is that they tend to absorb water.
The water absorption leads to weakening the player’s hand hold and reduce the playing time of the racket.
Tennis racquets, unlike most other sports, are strung with synthetic strings which give a player better feel and control.
Synthetic strings are made from polymers like polypropylene and polyester.
These materials are tougher than their natural counterparts, allowing the strings to last longer without getting worn off or breaking.
Padding and Head Covering
The bottom of a tennis racket comes with a covering of some padding to help absorb the energy that gives off during a shot or bump in a match.
Padding is usually made out of silicone since it feels softer on the hand and does not absorb sweat from the player’s hand as much as leather does.
Some players prefer the smell of leather that is why some manufacturers still use leather for padding on tennis rackets.
The head of a tennis racket is hidden under two main materials, cloth and leather. Some companies combine both materials to give more durability to their products.
A few essential steps of constructing a tennis racket are
A tennis racket mainly comprises of two sides, which are generally layers of wood, graphite and Kevlar.
The first step in making a racket is to cut the layers into equal sizes and then to bend them into the correct position.
After that, the above layers are glued together using a hot glue gun. This racket is then sent to get several coating of lacquer to protect it from moisture.
- Grinding, Smoothening and Coating
An aluminum racket involves two parts, which are the aluminum part and the PVC core.
After they are cut into shapes, they are ground to make them smooth then finally a coating of plastic is done to prevent rusting.
The final is given to get a clear coat finish. After covering, it is sent to be painted according to the tastes of the clients before they are ready for sale.
The different layers of rackets are cut into equal pieces, so that mixing them together in the exact proportions becomes easier for compression moulding.
After heating this mixture at about 500 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, it reaches a molten state.
This liquid is then poured into moulds where it cools down after hardening.
If you’re interested in buying a tennis racket, it might be worth learning what the different materials are and how they affect your game.
A good place to start is looking at graphite or aluminum for lighter rackets that will give you more power on your shots without sacrificing control.
But if you want something with a little bit of weight behind each hit, try out one made from steel.
In addition to these two options, there’s also titanium which offers an alternative if neither of them sound like the right choice for you.