Since its Nobel Prize winning discovery in 2003, graphene has been hailed as a wonder material poised to be a game changer in a wide array of industries ranging from light bulbs to batteries to wearable tech. Thinner than paper, stronger than diamond, and more conductive than copper, graphene is a single-atom hexagonal lattice of graphite. With over 25,000 patents filed for potential applications, graphene is the next big material to know.
Sports companies have taken note of its lightweight, flexible, and durable properties, applying graphene in innovative new ways. Here are 5 products that have already gotten the graphene treatment, and we’re sure to see plenty more in the near future.
1. Tennis Racquets
Austrian sporting goods manufacturer Head has been ahead of the curve in applying graphene to tennis racquets. The new Graphene XT Prestige racquet series utilizes the world’s strongest and lightest material to enhance the weight distribution from handle to head. This allows for better energy transfer and the power to hit the ball much harder than ever before, without any chance of the racquet shattering. With graphene replacing carbon fiber and titanium alloy in the frame construction, Head’s second generation of graphene racquets are up to 20% lighter than conventional racquets with the same swing weight. This means players have a faster racquet behind the ball but with the same feeling of resistance. In the future we can expect to see graphene finding more applications in sports where the equipment has to withstand and absorb significant impact, such as hockey and baseball.
2. Cycling Helmets
The Spanish sports company Catlike has put graphene to good use in reinforced cycling helmets. Designed with graphene nanofibers in the roll cage, the Catlike Mixino helmets protect cyclists’ skulls with maximum durability and minimum weight. A big step up from previous helmets made with polycarbonate roll cages, Catbird’s graphene versions is not only stronger and lighter, but better ventilated, thanks to graphene’s unique heat transfer capabilities.
Head has taken what they learned in improving tennis racquets and applied it to downhill skis, creating the Super Joy line, and most recently, the Monster line. Substituting graphene for a portion of the skis traditionally made with wood and glass fibres gives Head’s new skis extra titanal layers, allowing the skis to be stiff but flexible. Graphene’s enhanced reactiveness and responsiveness allows this new generation of skis to be lighter, easier to control, and more balanced.
Thanks to graphene’s adaptability as a composite material, we’re seeing just the beginning of a revolution in sports equipment. With a greater strength to weight ratio, enhanced strength and durability, and superior heat transfer capabilities, it’s just a matter of time before graphene rolls out in several other sports equipment applications.