There was an interesting discussion at NetComposites’ recent “Composites in Sport” conference regarding the role of high-performance materials, and especially composites, in sporting equipment. In many sports, such as tennis, hockey and baseball, there has been a gradual evolution in the materials employed for sporting equipment from wood, through aluminium, to the carbon fibre composites that are often currently used. The use of composites has led to sporting equipment becoming lighter, stiffer and better optimised, allowing greater accelerations to be imparted to the target ball/puck/shuttlecock/etc. Whilst this provides a competitive advantage to early adopters, once the “new” material becomes the commonplace standard, the net benefit to a given sport is sometimes less clear.
NetComposites Enterprise has been involved in the construction industry for many years. Through networks, conferences, projects and consultancy, it keeps close links and allies of those working in and around consultancy.
Nanomaterials, such as nanoclays, carbon nanotubes and graphene, have been extensively investigated in terms of their ability to bring additional functionality to composites. Nano-scale particles typically have a very high surface area to volume ratio, meaning that the addition of relatively small amounts to a composite can bring significant improvements in performance.