Materials in Sports Equipment

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Understanding the role of polymers in sports equipment

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Previous Figure Next Figure. Email or Customer ID. Forgot password? When designing sports equipment the design has to enhance performance, be user friendly and be safer in order to beat out previous competitors. This requires knowledge of material science, anatomy, physics, physiology, biomechanics and mechanical engineering so that it can be applied to the joint and ligament movements of the body Froes, When selecting a material its strength, density, cost, flexibility, modulus, toughness and fatigue resistance are all taken into account Froes, Some common materials include, ceramics, polymers, metals and other synthetic- hybrid materials. However, these were not always the norm. Sport equipment has evolved from wood, strings and rubbers to the materials we see today Rosandich, The sports equipment industry is very competitive. Companies are constantly working on coming up with new products to improve performance. In the professional sports world fractions of a second can determine a win and athletes are willing to pay the extra money in order to have the best equipment. The bike has made several developments in the years they have been around.

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The first bike was invented by Baron Von Drais in and was made of wood. It had no pedals and in order to make it move one had to us their feet to push the bike Adams, In pedals were added to the front wheels to provide comfort and improve speed.

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Five years later the first metal bike was introduced with rubber wheels to ensure a smoother ride. People figured out that larger the wheel was the farther distance one could travel with one pedal so the wheels became as large as possible. However, this presented a serious safety problem. The rider was much higher then the center of gravity and if the bike ever had to come to a sudden stop or hit a rock the rider would be sent flying off their bike Adams, This brought them back to the previous design with two wheels the same size in the early s.

The bike could travel just as fast as the gear ratio had been improved and the pedals were no longer on the front wheels. With the industrial revolution kids bikes became very popular and had elements that made them look a little bit like cars or motor cycles. Slight modifications have been made to this design Adams, One of the major advances occurred in the frame of the bike.

The diamond frame and alternate- structure cross frame are the most commonly used today.

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They are made from thin walled tubular parts that are designed to resist tension, twisting and bending Adams, It is also lighter weight. The highest quality material for this are carbon- fiber composites because they are low in density, aluminums because they are stiff and titaniums because they provide strength.

Some bikes are made with a combination of these elements. However, these are very expansive and most amateurs buy steel bikes Froes, Evidence of the success of these advancements was shown in when Greg LeMond won the Tour de France. His bike had shortened handle bars and padded tubing that made his bike more aerodynamic Froes, Tennis rackets have made several significant developments quit quickly.

It was flexible in comparison to the modern day racket. They were also made much smaller, 27x9 inches.

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The wooden material was the first thing to be changed. Steel rackets were introduced that could take more force with out stretching the limits of the material. They were also much lighter and made playing tennis less physically straining. The next advancement was the size of the head.

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The racket head increase so that there was more space the ball could bounce off of.

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