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Nanotechnology Has a Growing Role in Sports Equipment, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Nanotechnology will grow in importance in the sports industry, as the strength and lightweight advantages of carbon nanotubes are utilized for such items as baseball bats, tennis rackets, bicycles, fishing rods, snow skis and golf clubs.  In addition, nanotech-based fabrics will be incorporated to a growing extent in sports apparel for added strength, stain resistance, moisture wicking or other benefits.

Carbon nanotubes are molecules of pure carbon atoms joined together to form tubes one-billionth of a meter in diameter.  Properly used, nanotubes offer amazing strength.  A nanotube can be vastly stronger than a similar quantity of steel.  Easton Cycling (www.eastoncycling.com ) is using nanotube technology in new sports products.  For example, the firm’s MonkeyLite handlebar offers high strength, minimal weight and high resistance to material fatigue—all qualities that are greatly valued by bicycle enthusiasts.

Nanotechnology is impacting golf equipment as well.  Nanostructures are being embedded in golf balls to help decrease airborne drag or increase strength and resiliency, making balls shoot off club heads with more velocity.  Wilson Sports is selling a ball with these kinds of structures.  In addition, golf club shafts such as the AccuFLEX Evolution brand use nano composite technology to decrease weight while increasing fiber density.  The result is shafts that are stronger, more durable and provide better performance.  Wilson is making a popular line of tennis rackets containing nanotubes as well.

Products enhanced with nanotechnology sell at the upper end of the price scale, making them appropriate for the introduction of costly new technologies.  However, over the long term, nanotechnology-based products will lessen in price and reach wider numbers of consumers.  An excellent example is the growing use of nano-fibers with stain- and wrinkle-resistant qualities, which are already available in inexpensive lines of mass-market clothing.

 

 


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