Any one still believes in new material technologuies vs good ol graphite

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Tennis Man, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. Tennis Man

    Tennis Man Hall of Fame

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    I just read the difinition of basalt and it doesn't make sense.

    Wikipedia says: "Basalt is used in construction (e.g. as building blocks or in the groundwork), making cobblestones (from columnar basalt) and in making statues. Heating and extruding basalt yields stone wool, an excellent thermal insulator.

    Wilson claims "BLX features Basalt which is a natural volcanic rock. Woven into the racquet as fine gold fibers along with Karophite Black it has incredible vibration resistance. With this technology you get a smoother feel with cleaner feedback from the racquet."

    How do you get "a smoother feel with cleaner feedback" from a volcanic rock? By touching it? :)
     
    #1
  2. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    #2
  3. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    I don't think anyone ever did. Most racquets are still primarily graphite despite the small percentage of "something else" material that's being touted by the manufacturer.
     
    #3
  4. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I for one love the "a smoother feel with cleaner feedback" that basalt in the frame and now in the handle as well gives in the Wilson BLX 6.1 95 vs the Kfactor.

    The fact that the racquet is more HL (lighter SW by about 14g) probably contributes a lot though...And in general progress made via engineering/research/testing in frame dynamics.
     
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  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Or else the not-so-small amount of material coming at the expense of graphite is filler junk to reduce the cost
     
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  6. robby c

    robby c Semi-Pro

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    Basalt fiber replaces Kevlar in the fabric the graphite is coated onto before it is cut into strips to be mounted in the mold.
    Cost : Basalt- $2.00/Lb
    Kevlar- $11.00/Lb.
    Basalt is cheaper.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
    #6
  7. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Like some variation of corn or soy in half the food at the supermarket.
     
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  8. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    aerogel and graphene are 2 fairly new materials thats used for lots of hi tech stuff nowadays. as for rackets...........
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Matters little what the racket is made of, since design and human compatibility is always the most important.
     
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  10. syke

    syke Professional

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    For the common layman, it probably does...

    But not for equipment enthusiasts... and definitely not in this forum...
     
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  11. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    +10000000000 people here will debate to death how microgel is suprior to IG
     
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  12. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    But the PSBLX 100 just demonstrated that it's the racket shape that makes most of the handling, no? Along with stiffer material which makes babo rackets popular vs the good old all graphite.
     
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  13. Vlad_C

    Vlad_C Semi-Pro

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    The entire racquet industry is based on marketing BS.
    How else would they convince suckers to buy new racquet(s) every 3 years or so?

    The fact is that a 20yo graphite racquet is probably better than the latest and greatest model infused with BS particles, or basalt, or microgel, or whatever they might think of next.
    Back then, they were not cutting corners so much in order to squeeze the last penny in profit margins, so chances are an older racquet would be a better racquet.
     
    #13
  14. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I don't know about being "better", but I want to say that 20yrs old graphite racquet is probably the same as the current marketing BS.
     
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  15. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    The Wilson Basalt rackets definitely have a different feel than the previous generation. The Wiki page sureshs posted shows the Basalt fibers have properties similar to kevlar and robbyc noted that the Basalt is cheaper.
    Sounds like making a cheaper racket and marketing it as better.
    Also, to make a graphite racket the same way they did 30 years ago would be cost-prohibitive these days. Yes, in some ways they were better rackets. Not enough better for people to be willing to pay a large price differential, though.
     
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  16. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Or maybe it's just kevlar re-branded as "BLX" for marketing purposes? (I can make the same argument for that nano-crap and k-factor)
     
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  17. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    marketing bs to make a cheaper material sound like something important...
     
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  18. mmk

    mmk Professional

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    Makes little sense to do that given the costs shown in post #6. And Wilson isn't the only manufacturer to use basalt in racquets, Pacific does as well.
     
    #18
  19. Cesar1992

    Cesar1992 New User

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    The higher your level of play, the more you can utilize and discern these technical improvements. That's the guide for new purchases, IMO.
     
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  20. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Typo, deleted.
     
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  21. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    We are still mainly using "good ol graphite".

    Most racquets are the same graphite (also called carbon) fiber and epoxy mix for the last 20 years.

    Just add in more epoxy for a more flexible racquet.

    Less epoxy for a less flexible racquet.

    The amount of basalt, Youtek, titanium, etc. is tiny - just enough at areas of a racquet to increase stiffness.

    [​IMG]

    The hoops of most racquets, like Bablolat, are tubular:

    [​IMG]

    Though a few of the solid thin beam frames remain, like the BLX90, a decendant of the Pro Staff 6.0 85

    [​IMG] - http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=380910

    Engineers borrow technology from the aerospace industry, and apply it to racquets, skis, golf clubs and fishing poles.

    But most racquets are mainly "good ole graphite".
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
    #21
  22. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    I think differences in feel and performance have more to do with manufacturing designs, specifications and techniques -- as opposed to raw materials. I'm sure all racquets are more than 98% graphite.
     
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  23. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    its actually 97.85541902% graphite cant you tell! i can feel it when i swing it around in the house. no way its 98%
     
    #23
  24. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Dumb question, but which part is kevlar and which part is graphite? Thanks!

    By the way, many minds were f***ed by your post just now. Especially those who bought the latest and greatest space mineral racquet. :)
     
    #24
  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Thanks. I was about to ask how flex is controlled, and you provided the answer.
     
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  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    So PS85's head is not hollow but filled with ......... what? Does the graphite+kevlar+epoxy extend all through the tubular space, or is the "filling" different from the material in the outer shell?
     
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  27. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    plastic resin is about 40%.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
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  28. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    My newest racquet is i-prestige, which was made long-time ago.
     
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  29. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    I think some of the "macro" technologies like wide string patterns, grommets, O-ports, Cortex, beam width, handle dampening, etc. are more clearly affecting performance rather then the micro/nanoscopic fibers of the month.
     
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  30. anirut

    anirut Legend

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    Of the "technologies", I really like ProKennex's wood spine in the Core series the most. Crisp, yet soft. just the right amount of flex for that goodie feel.
     
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  31. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    That is not quite how Flex is controlled.
    From "Much To do about Modulus" By Crawford Lindsay
    Fibers only have strength and stiffness in the direction of their length. It gets complicated, but suffice to say that in the diagram at right, the 0? fibers (in the direction of the racquet length) make the racquet stiff to bending. The 90? fibers are used to stiffen the hoop in the string pull-through direction. All angles in-between will increase torsional stiffness. Designers stack the layers so the strength and stiffness are optimized to match the racquet's target player. To that end, each layer may have different modulus and strength properties to the one above or below it. Wilson, for example, mixes two other modulus fibers with its Hyper Carbon. Bill Severa summarizes saying, "Properties arise in combinations of angles. For example, two specific angles can combine to give great durability. Two others combine for great feel. And two others provide super stiffness. We are very specific as to where we use those combinations on a racquet.

    You can read the whole article in this thread:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=160344
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
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  32. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    I thought I read some years ago that the price of Kevlar went way up due to it becoming high demand for other applications/industries and since then it's been a race to try and replace it with cheaper alternatives. Same with Twaron.

    edit: and this is another reason why I'm completely unconvinced that the current Pro Staff 6.0 has any Kevlar in it. Some other current low volume racquets may actually have it simply because the manufacturer stockpiled a small amount.
     
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