February 3, 2013 by Parveer Mann
The tennis racquet could be changing and you may not even notice it.
The evolution of the racquet has seen the game played with a variety of materials. Early players used their hands or a primitive paddle called the Palla. In 1874, the wooden racquet along with the modern rules were established and remained popular for over 100 years. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the current tennis racquet took shape with metal and graphite frames that offered a lighter racquet with a larger surface area. The next advancement may be subtle but could be as important with HEAD announcing the YouTek™ SPEED racquet containing the strongest known material in the world, Graphene.
What is Graphene?
Graphene has excited the science and engineering community for many years. It is carbon atoms arranged in linked hexagons that exist on a two-dimensional plane. According to Gizmodo, many point to that fact that it being two-dimensional results in it being the strongest and slimmest substance in the world. Graphene can be stretched like rubber, is impervious to liquid and gas and has the capability to conduct electricity. It is this uniqueness that has seen many predict that it could replace copper and silicon in many things we use.
So why in the tennis racquet?
It may seem trivial to use such an important substance in a tennis racquet but it will aid in engineering a better racquet. The lightness and strength of graphene will allow it to be used in the shaft of a racquet with the rest of a racquet’s weight being transferred to the head. It will make the racquet lighter but offer more power and control due to weight distribution. Reports indicate that world number 1, Novak Djokovic will soon adapt the new graphene infused racquet. It is anybody’s guess whether this natural wonder can further help the best tennis player in the world and others like him.