Composites in Sports
Many sports manufacturers utilise composite materials to improve the performance, safety and cost-effectiveness of their products.
Sports equipment that incorporate composites include snowboards, skis, helmets, tennis rackets, bikes, hockey sticks, and archery bows and arrows. As athletes and brands continue to innovate, top-of-the-line equipment must be utilised to get the cutting edge on competition and standing records. Whether brands are looking to improve the durability of their composite equipment or even reduce the weight to get the extra milli-second advantage; leading adhesives are helping brands reach the next step in innovation.
Composites in sports provide numerous unique advantages, including:
- Reducing weight: the use of composites can lead to lightweight sporting equipment. Examples of this benefit include thin motorcycle helmets that reduce neck fatigue for riders, and lighter shoes for runners that focus on short bursts, such as sprinters and short-distance athletes.
- High structural strength: composite materials exhibit high toughness and mechanical properties that make sporting equipment more sturdy and safe, whilst also reducing weight.
- Weathering resistance: composite materials can resist water, humidity, temperature changes and corrosion, allowing sports equipment to be used in outdoor and demanding environments over extended lifespans, such as rowing boats.
- Reduced requirement for repairs and maintenance: as a result of the above benefits, composite sports equipment requires less maintenance and repairs, saving costs for both the users and the manufacturers.
The global sports composites market is estimated to reach a value of £4.5 billion by 2026, growing at a rate of 4.8% from 2021. This growth is accounted for by increasing demand for lightweight sports equipment, with the sector growing particularly due to golf clubs and rackets. Sports manufacturers are therefore looking for the most innovative solutions and materials to gain a competitive edge and improve profitability in this growing market.
Solutions for Composite Sports Equipment Manufacturing
- Improved processability, automated or manual – saving time and costs.
- Weight reductions – improving efficiencies.
- Protection from corrosion, oxidation and rust.
- Improved aesthetics – no bumps or sharp corners.
- Improved structural strength – boosting durability.
- Higher safety, due to improved product quality.
Huntsman is a pioneer in the ski market, being the first to introduce composites solutions to the industry. Their composite bonding solutions are used in golf club shafts, tennis rackets, fishing rods, boat paddles, bats, hockey sticks, racing bikes and many other high-performance applications.
Huntsman’s thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) are ideal for extruding to create protective films for skis, snow and wakeboard surfaces; and water bladders for hydration packs.
Epoxy adhesives such as Huntsman Araldite are the most commonly used adhesives for bonding composites due to their excellent bond strength and durability. In addition, the ARADUR range of products are epoxy resins that achieve a broad range of thermal, mechanical and electrical properties when used to bond composites in sports equipment.
The BETAFORCE range of adhesives, a two-component polyurethane structural adhesive technology by DuPont, is one of our top recommended systems for bonding other materials to composites. Common materials bonded by BETAFORCE include carbon fibre, coated steel and coated aluminium. DuPont products have been successfully used in golf ball covers, bowling pin covers, snowshoes and footwear. Discover how BETAFORCE adhesives have been used in the injection bonding of composites to learn more about their applications.
As the efficacy of the composite bonding solution depends on the specific application, it’s best to cross-check specifications using our full guide to bonding composites or by getting in contact with us directly.