Effects of aluminium on a frame (how bad is it?)

eman resu

Professional
As oposed to Basalt, Tungsten or whatever, aluminium is not really promoted as a good thing. Many people find it bad, actually, and most begginers racquets are made entirely of this material. So I ran into this racquet and it says "graphite synthesis". I've played with some graphite composites: Tungsten, Kevlar, fiber glass (or something like that), even aluminium (although never for real, customizing it for my needs). They are all "graphite plus something".

So, what are the effects of having aluminium in a racquet? It is lighter, but whatelse? Is it fine, just add lead and go play? Should I ran away from it? Should I be afraid of entering into big hitting even after adding weight? Is it bad for the frame structure or for my body (will I injure any of them)? How bad is aluminium when mixed with graphite?

Again, this is not about a 100% aluminium, but a graphite composite.
 

Irony Zealot

New User
I doubt the aluminum is pure aluminum (I know it's not 100% aluminum, talking about the aluminum part). Most likely, it's an aluminum alloy, as pure aluminum is soft and not strong.

I'll assume aluminum alloy. The negative of aluminum alloy is that it can transmit vibrations easily. You'll get a lot of shock if you mishit balls and such. When it's in a graphite composite, it'll be lessened most likely, but you might still feel more harshness from the frame than others.

That's the only negative I can think of, but companies nowadays aren't using aluminum for their performance racquets anymore. That could be a sign to not use racquets with aluminum.
 

eman resu

Professional
I doubt the aluminum is pure aluminum (I know it's not 100% aluminum, talking about the aluminum part). Most likely, it's an aluminum alloy, as pure aluminum is soft and not strong.

I'll assume aluminum alloy. The negative of aluminum alloy is that it can transmit vibrations easily. You'll get a lot of shock if you mishit balls and such. When it's in a graphite composite, it'll be lessened most likely, but you might still feel more harshness from the frame than others.

That's the only negative I can think of, but companies nowadays aren't using aluminum for their performance racquets anymore. That could be a sign to not use racquets with aluminum.

Thanks. I'm no expert and I say aluminium without any knowledge. It could be anything, really (besides, english is not my mother language). I'm talking about one of those extra lenght OS racquets. Prince Storm Lite LXT 107, "graphite synthesis". If nothing was written on it, I would buy it as I woudn't tell the difference at the store (no demo possible, used at a good price). It seems ok, but I'm afraid of the "aluminium" composite as so many people seem to hate it.
 

robbo1970

Hall of Fame
I'm no chemist but I believe aluminium is just a very lightweight metal, part of the boron group if I'm right. So I suppose its ideal to add as part of a composite. Alloys are a mixture of metals, usually with the concept being to create a strong metal thats also light in weight.

I have only just moved away from using woodies and I am currently using a titanium alloy Prince oversize at the moment. I bought it about 15 years ago and have never used it until now and to be honest its a great racquet, considerably better than alloy racquets Ive seen these days.

Ive been using lately and its really good, I certainly dont need to upgrade at the moment.
 

GS

Professional
Years ago, one of the most impressive sticks I've ever tried was the Prince Pro 90, a midsized all-aluminum racquet, very similar to the all-graphite POG mid. Both had incredible power and control. But, there's no vibration dampening in an all-aluminum racquet, so, it hurt my arm. I ended up sticking with all-graphite.
Hey, whatever works for you, and doesn't hurt!
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Nothing wrong with the material aluminum. Tons can go wrong with the design and execution of making it and handing it over to YOU!
Aluminum is just a material, can be made stiff, soft, absorbent, or really harsh. Witness Cannondale bicycles. The older hammers were super stiff, lightweight, and pounded the rider. With new design ideas, they can make the softest riding bikes of ANY material (Synapse aluminum road frames) by redesigning how much, what diameter, and exactly what formula to use WHERE. They make high end carbon bikes for sure, but their current CAAD10 is one of the stiffest frames on the market, but has softer chainstays and triangle tubes.
Same with tennis rackets, you can use a material and make it soft, stiff, compliant, or board like solid. It's up to the designer.
 

chrisl

New User
Material technology

Your question can give rise to many answers.

In your application, aluminium is used in alloy form, most likely as an extrusion. Advantages: easy to form, easy to mass-produce, fairly light, etc...

Disadvantages: aluminium is not very stiff (stiff as in deflection compared to force), and it is susceptible to fatigue, and cracks etc...

What you call graphite racquets
Tungsten, Kevlar, fiber glass (or something like that), even aluminium (although never for real, customizing it for my needs). They are all "graphite plus something".

really are composite racquets. Composites as in fibres locked into a matrix. The matrix is some form of resin (epoxy, vinylester, polyester,...), kind of a glue.
The fibres can be strands, chopped fibers or fabrics.

Carbon fiber (also commonly called graphite) is by far the best fibre to build a composite from, because it's light and stiff (a thin carbon fibre can be supple in itself but its resistance to elongation under strain is very high := stiffness). Glass fibre composites are heavier, softer and less interesting for tennis racquet applications, yet it may be used as a filler or so.

A pure resin/carbonfibre composite probably would be too heavy and way too stiff, so the ideal properties are found by using fillers (could be wood core, foam core, lighter fibre layers, honeycomb paper,...)

Marketing (well, mostly IMHO) then adds esoteric fibres into the mix (kevlar, tungsten, spectra/dyneema/polythene, basalt, boron, flax...) but frankly I personally don't believe much in the technical added value.

So why would you want a composite racquet over aluminium?

A well designed composite racquet will have dampening characteristics where you want them, how you want them.

Composite, at least and especially carbon composites, flick back from deflection quicker than metals, i.e. during the collision they flick the ball forward quicker than other materials (which incidently is also why dinghies like carbon fibre mast (-tips) in gusts).

Composite racquets can add material anywhere you want, i.e. it's easier to build a racquet with a certain weight distribution. By nature composites are more crack resistant.


I would think a composite racquet requires more human interaction/handling during the build process, and therefore is more expensive.

A composite racquet is more expensive in terms of materials.

A composite build is probably cheaper to set up than aluminium extrusion systems (for smaller runs, that is).

But I am not sure I would play worse with an aluminium racquet than with my carbon racquets, yet where I live they don't sell Al racquets except for kids, so I can't comment.

A racquet built using a crappy matrix (e.g. polyester) would suck big time.

I'm not sure this adds very much to your view on Al racquets though...
 

Irony Zealot

New User
I'm not sure it does. He's asking about graphite composites with aluminum in it as opposed to a graphite composite without aluminum in it. Both are graphite composites, just comparing what happens if one has aluminum and the other doesn't.

Are we all talking about aluminum alloy here? Pure aluminum isn't very useful for racquet applications.
 
S

specialjustin

Guest
In bike frames, Alu is light,stiff,harsh and difficult to work with over other materials.
 

chrisl

New User
Hmm reading back the original post I have to apologize: If you're certain you're dealing w/ a carbon composite, the Al fibres (or whatever the Al is) won't matter v. much...
 
What would putting in a soft metal do inside of a graphite frame? That is why BITD, Boron laminates were added to wood and within the early graphite frames, because it stiffened-up the frame, providing more power. Pure aluminum frames were very soft, except for maybe the Red Head, and its extruded cross section shape was done specifically to resist bending--I knew the designer, who is now deceased.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Guys....
If you want stiff, you go big diameter.
If you want more flex, make the diameter smaller.
This is true with carbon, matrix, aluminum, or any combination.
As for bikes, Cannondale's Synapse IS the smoothest riding frame that you can still stand on hard, because the rear triangle is tiny diameter aluminum, and shaped to flex up and down, while the carbon wrapped aluminum fork is very solid, medium stiff, and the big diameter frame is stiff as a board.
 

Irony Zealot

New User
LeeD, I understand what you're saying. I totally agree, but we're not talking about aluminum alloys in bike construction here. You're post would be relevant if we were talking about a 100% aluminum alloy racquet. The OP asked what's the difference between graphite composites with aluminum and graphite composites without aluminum.

To the OP, I think chrisl is right. It probably won't matter very much. However, that depends on the actual graphite composition and construction, as those factors determine how much of an effect aluminum has. The biggest difference would probably be in feel, as aluminum alloy transmits vibrations easily and is stiff. As for playability, I don't think it would make a difference.
 

eman resu

Professional
LeeD, I understand what you're saying. I totally agree, but we're not talking about aluminum alloys in bike construction here. You're post would be relevant if we were talking about a 100% aluminum alloy racquet. The OP asked what's the difference between graphite composites with aluminum and graphite composites without aluminum.

To the OP, I think chrisl is right. It probably won't matter very much. However, that depends on the actual graphite composition and construction, as those factors determine how much of an effect aluminum has. The biggest difference would probably be in feel, as aluminum alloy transmits vibrations easily and is stiff. As for playability, I don't think it would make a difference.

thank you all, the discussions were very helpful :)
 

rufusbgood

Semi-Pro
OP.

Avoid.

You are looking at what is known as a graphite fusion racquet. In other words, an aluminum racquet fused with graphite. So it looks like a graphite racquet, but it ain't.

Do yourself a favor.

Stay away.
 

BHud

Hall of Fame
Reminds me of the Spalding Smasher! The head became deformed quickly because it was so soft. I remember being 14 and saving money from mowing lawns all summer to purchase a new stick. It was between the Smasher and the T2000. Thanks goodness I went with the T2000! Ha ha
 
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