PTFE / Silicone Spray Experiment

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TimothyO, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    A thread about suspected pro use of silicone spray made me curious about its effects on spin. So I decided to try an experiment. It's just getting started, here are some initial observations, will update later.

    I have three matched Pure Storm GT all strung the same way: VS Touch Black / 4G 125 @ 55/51. The beds range in age from three weeks, two weeks, and fresh.

    I sprayed the oldest bed with PTFE Dry Lubricant from Blaster. It went on with a whitish residue which dried sort of soft rather than gummy or drippy.

    I sprayed the middle aged frame with Silicone Spray from Blaster. No color change but it was clearly wet at first.

    In both cases the spray came out in a powerful "jet" which made even application difficult. I wiped off the excess buildup.

    I'm leaving the fresh string bed untouched as a control so I can compare it as it ages.

    Initial observation: the silicone spray bed moves a little better than before when I pull on the mains, but nothing I would call significant. The 4G tends to dent with use and I could feel the small vibrations of the mains moving over the dented crosses even with the silicone applied and allowed to work into the stirngs.

    The PTFE bed was a completely different story. The spray seemed to fill in the dents as the mains moved freely over the crosses. They seemed slower in some ways but also much smoother.

    It's still damp here in Atlanta so I probably won't hit until Thursday. Definitely looking forward to seeing how the PTFE frame performs.
     
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  2. treo

    treo Rookie

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    I've used PTFE dry lubricant and it makes the balls greasy and dirty. Silicone spray lasts about 15 minutes. I found a bottle of Ricoh color copier silicone oil and it works the best. It is a thick oil that I wipe on and is not greasy. It needs to be reapplied every hour of play for a full bed of syn gut to stay straight.
     
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  3. db10s

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    I'm going to pick some up because Dunlop Ice moves more than other polys, what is the recommended brand for poly?
     
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  4. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    That's why I don't have much hope for this experiment. It was sort of messy given the power of the jet spray.

    It's also another reason I applied it to my old string beds! :)
     
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  5. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    This is the stuff I use:

    [​IMG]

    I hold the nozzle close to the edge of the frame and spray across the strings toward the opposite edge of the frame. Everything, including the overspray, is dries right away. I haven't noticed marking on the balls or the balls picking up Har-Tru.

    The balls spin like mad.
     
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  6. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    Where do you get it?
     
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  7. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    A lot of hardware stores have it, it's also commonly used to lube bike chains.
     
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  8. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    Ok, thanks.
     
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  9. AlfaAce

    AlfaAce Rookie

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    1. Spray a cloth first and wipe it on your string bed.
    2. Don't breathe PTFE!!! Have you read about it's health hazards?!?! You should.
    3. Silicone is safer and what most players use.
    4. You should have applied it to your new string bed not your old ones that are already notched... that's really what its for (and works best on).
     
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  10. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Yes, know all about PTFE and silicone hazards. I have a spray booth and masks that I use for another hobby.

    As for old vs new string beds I had read that even silicone must be reapplied with use. And while slippery I don't believe it will stop the 4G crosses from denting which is a completely different issue. So it needs to work whether the 4G is fresh or dented.
     
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  11. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    UPDATE:

    Silicone Spray: meh. Didn't notice any real improvement. Not worth it imo.

    PTFE Dry Lube Spray: definitely rejuvinated the string bed which was the most worn of the three. It was as good or better than the fresh sb in spin potential. Worth further study. Good news is that it didn't leave marks on the balls or cause them to collect dirt. They looked just fine. In fact, the fresh, uncoated stringbed did far more physical damage fluffing them and ripping fuzz off them.

    The PTFE seems to collect in the crevices which may explain why it doesn't leave marks and why it seems to frelin the notches.
     
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  12. Dragan

    Dragan Rookie

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    Timothy, as AlfaAce already pointed out, teflon particles on the stringbed are extremely bad idea. Additional spin is not worth the health risk, IMO.

    Also, your opponent might not share the same risk affinity level as you do (and every ball hit spreads invisible PTFE particles in the air close to you).
     
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  13. monomer

    monomer Rookie

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    Many factories that produce products from fluorocarbon polymers do so in segregated rooms (often affectionately referred to as "the cancer room"). The employees are required to wear special protective clothing and often must limit the amount of days per month they are allowed to work in these areas.

    I personally would not use PTFE spray on a racquet. You are guaranteed to have the Teflon transfer from the strings to the balls to your hands.
     
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  14. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    I use a combo silicone/teflon spray. Might have to re-evaluate using it as the PTFE is indeed bad stuff
     
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  15. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    PTFE is used in...

    - your computer mouse to make it slide

    - in goretex to make your clothing repel water

    - In your cookware for non-stick surfaces

    - In footware and medical devices to prevent blisters (ie it's rubbed against your flesh)

    - On the roof of the metrodome

    - etc.

    That being said, yeah, I don't think any spray coating is worth the mess or health risks. We don't even use a microwave in our house or teflon cookware for those reasons.

    This does raise another question.

    When I hit fresh balls with loads of topspin I leave pretty significant contrails of green fuzz. I've often wondered if those particals are a threat.

    Anyway, I won't be proceeding with this. Doesn't make sense.

    However, given the amount of PTFE we're talking about compared to the other hazards we face on a daily basis (eg emissions from coal plants) I truly doubt there's a health risk anywhere close to these other threats.

    Heck, wine contains a known poison (alcohol) which many of us enjoy! :)
     
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  16. monomer

    monomer Rookie

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    Teflon is not a problem in solid form or when spraying it on something in your car. It's not something that you want to ingest. Spraying it on your strings is like using the microwave to heat food in plastic containers. It will pose no short term problem but it's smart to limit the cumulative exposure over time.
     
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  17. canny

    canny Rookie

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    And none of these are they in a aerosol form where the particles can easily reach your lungs.

    I personally use silicone it isnt messy at all and it works best after a fresh string bed. You can reapply I guess but it helps the strings snap back into place and prevent premature notching.
     
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  18. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Silly question but has anyone used a cloth with canola oil? Just wipe off the excess.

    I know you guys are probably laughing your a$$e$ off, but the goal is to lubricate the strings so they slide. And Canola or some veggie oil will do that. Without PTFE exposure.

    Now what to do with my can of now useless spray....
     
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  19. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I tried baby oil once on my natural gut mains. It definitely softens them after they've become worn and frayed with use.

    The problem with many oils is that they breakdown under pressure and heat, don't bond to surfaces, and collect friction inducing dirt and dust which defeats their purpose as a lube.

    After this experiment I'm sticking (no pun intended) to simple low friction strings. Lubes just aren't worth it. I got more spin from a little extra mass than from these lubes.

    On a scary note, you should see the recommended uses for the PFTE spray: the can lists stuff like bicycle chains, kitchen appliances, kitchen drawers, etc...

    We live in a perpetual cloud of toxins intended to make our clothing, furniture, rugs, and drapes flame retardant, stain resistant, and water proof. And we ingest lots of chemicals and toxins in our foods. And we have folks in our government who think it's just fine to turn well water into flammable chemical soup in the interests of drilling for shale oil (and voters elected those idiots!)

    A little PFTE on strings probably doesn't matter in this context. But, why bother when the benefits are so tiny.
     
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  20. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Very well said. Wonder if the cancer rates reflect all the toxins in our environment - but that's another discussion...
     
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  21. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    The WSJ once ran a piece by a doctor and her husband. They did everyrhing possible to protect their newborn from environmental toxins during her first year of life. Then they ran blood tests and we're shocked to learn that their baby's blood was a chemical soup no better than their own. They avoiding plastics, used cotton clothing, ate organics, etc. it just didn't matte.

    My dad died this week at age 79. He drank and smoked until his late 40s/early 50s. My mom died when she was in her 40s and lived the same way (which means I "smoked" their second had smoke until I left for college but have never smoked nor been drunk nor taken any illicit drugs...I don't even like OTC or prescribed drugs). Sometimes it's a crapshoot no matter what you do...at best you stack the odds in your favor by eating right and working out.
     
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  22. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    TimothyO,

    Sorry about your Dad. Mine is end of days as well, circle of life...

    Shocking about that baby. I'm trying to stay active, exercise a fair bit. Hopefully keep the Reaper at bay as long as possible.

    Stay well
     
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  23. canny

    canny Rookie

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    Yea at least working out and eating right gives you a peace of mind. you feel good and look good also.
     
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  24. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    My condolences on the loss of your Dad, TimothyO.
     
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  25. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Thanks guys. One of those situations where it was truly "for the best" at the end. Wouldn't wish his fate on anyone.
     
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