Chemicals Used in Sports Equipment - WorldOfChemicals

Chemical & Materials Used In Sports Equipments

Sports Equipments

What Makes Up Chemical Equipment?

Sports and physical activities have been part of the natural endeavors of humans in earth. The primeval records of sports activities date back to the First Olympics Games in 776 B.C. in Greece. Since then, the human yearning for participating in sports activities and this activity has pushed civilizations to create more structure to more sports games.

Worldwide events such as the Olympic Games and the World Cup are manifestations of the global participation of humans in sports activities. Large countries and small countries around the world compete against each other for recognition for physical talent and achievement in sports. The competitiveness in sports pushes the individual athletes as well as teams of athletes to constantly enhance their performance in their activity or game.

Over the past 100 years the materials used in sports equipment have evolved from raw materials such as wood, twine, gut, and rubber to high-technology metals, polymers, ceramics, and synthetic hybrid materials like composites and cellular concepts.

The design of sports equipment must rely on the knowledge of materials science, engineering, physics, physiology, and biomechanics and must consider various possible characteristics.

1Q.] what is the importance of material selection in sports equipment?

2Q.] what are the characteristics of materials to be considered while designing them?

3Q.] what are the other aspects important in designing sports equipments?

 1A] Material selection will play a vital role in playing filed by enhancing the each sports performance. The following graph shows the importance of material selection and how much spending on the materials.

Materials in Sports Equipment

2A] Characteristics of materials to be considered are

  • Strength
  • Density
  • Ductility
  • Fatigue resistance
  • Toughness
  • Modulus (damping)
  • Cost

Materials which are used in design of sports equipments are

  • Metals
  • Ceramics
  • Polymers etc.

3A] various aspects to be considered while designing materials are

  • Material science
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Physics
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Biomechanics

Many types of sports equipment rely heavily on chemistry to help athletes reach peak performance and provide critical safety and protective functions along the way. Whether it’s a stadium infrastructure materials tennis ball or baseball bat, elite athletes from around the world depend on the products of chemistry.



Stadium is a place or venue for sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event. There is chemistry or chemicals involved in stadium infrastructure. Following are the few chemicals used in stadium equipments, chairs, roofs, turfs.

Polyolefins – These are used in modern day stadium turfs

Polycarbonate – These materials are using for stadium roofing purpose

PVC – All most all parts of the stadiums are made up PVC material


Polyurethanes, a kind of plastic, will play an important role this summer as they are frequently found in running and other athletic shoes, making them more resilient. In addition, polyurethane is found in a wide variety of popular sporting equipment, such as soccer balls, binders on running tracks and judo mats. A number of styles of sport flooring and pour-in-place track surfaces use polyurethanes, as well. These equipment necessities alongside such items as surfboard, roller blades, bowling balls and spandex apparel are all made possible in part due to polyurethane innovations.


Polycarbonate, a strong, shatter-resistant plastic, can also be found in protective sports equipment. Polycarbonate is often used in riding and biking helmets, helping protect riders competing in equestrian and cycling competitions. Polycarbonate sunglasses and protective visors, which provide optical clarity as well as shatter-resistance, are worn by runners and rowers, just to name a few. Polycarbonate lenses can also be found in swim goggles.




Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow.

Archery equipment include

  • Bows
  • Arrows
  • Fletchings
  • Bow string
  • Protective equipment
  • Release aids
  • Stabilizers



Cyanoacrylate is the generic name for a family of fast-acting adhesives with industrial, medical and household uses.Cyanoacrylate is used in archery to glue fletching to arrow shafts.



Badminton is a racquet sport played by either two opposing players (singles) or two opposing pairs (doubles), who take positions on opposite halves of a rectangular court that is divided by a net. It was not until the 1940s that acrylic courts were used in official tournaments. Now, the Australian Open and US Open are both played on acrylic courts.

Badminton equipment include

  • Racquets
  • Strings
  • Grip
  • Shuttlecock
  • Shoes
  • Strings
  • Synthetic strings are mainly composed of
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Kevlar



Vectran is a manufactured fiber, spun from a liquid crystal polymer (LCP). It is aromatic polyester produced by the polycondensation of 4-hydroxybenzoic acid and 6-hydroxynaphthalene-2-carboxylic acid.Vectran fiber is used in manufacturing badminton strings such as Yonex BG-85 and BG-80.



In manufacturing of racquets the following chemicals are used




Golf is defined as playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules. It is one of the few ball games that do not require a standardized playing area.

Golf equipment include

  • Ball
  • Clubs (Woods, Irons, Putters)
  • Ball markers
  • Tees
  • Golf bag
  • Golf cart
  • Towels
  • Club head covers
  • Ball mark repair tool
  • Gloves
  • Shoes

Clubs (Woods, Irons, Putters)

Clubs (Woods, Irons, Putters)

Golf clubs have been developed and the shafts are now made of steel, titanium, carbon fiber, or other types of metals. Golf heads are made up of by following metal types

  • Zinc
  • Die Cast Aluminums, HST and 6061 Aluminum
  • 304 Stainless Steel
  • Carbon Steel
  • 431 Stainless Steel
  • 17-4 Stainless Steel
  • 6-4 Titanium
  • 15-5 Stainless Steel
  • Beta Titanium
  • Maraging Metal


Woods are made from different metals such as

Irons are golf clubs with a flat angled face and a shorter shaft than a wood. They are called irons because they were made of metal.

Putters can be manufactured from wood and metals.

Golf Ball

Golf Ball

The first wound ball had three layers made by winding a small, hard core with elastic, rubber thread stretched many times its length and then coating it with a layer of gutta-percha. It was also the first modern ball, although it did not take long for manufacturers to replace the more rigid gutta-percha with rubber.

Gutta-percha/ Polyisoprene

Gutta-percha chemical name is polyterpene, a polymer of isoprene, or polyisoprene, specifically (trans-1,4-polyisoprene). The cis structure of polyisoprene is the common latex elastomer.

Trans-1,4 polyisoprene

Trans-1,4 polyisoprene

Trans-1,4-polyisoprene (gutta-percha) resembles plastic and is used e.g. in golf balls, deep sea cables, orthopedic applications and adhesives. Trans-1,4 polyisoprene is the dominant isomer in gutta-percha and balata, two materials that, like natural rubber, are derived from the milky exudates of certain trees.

Unlike the cis-1,4 polymer, however, the trans-1,4 polymer is highly crystalline, so balata and gutta-percha are tough, hard, and leathery materials-properties that led in the 19th century to their use as sheathings for underwater cables and golf balls.

The trans-1,4 polymer can also be synthesized with Ziegler-Natta catalysts, yielding a synthetic balata of similar properties that also is employed in golf-ball covers as well as in orthopedic devices such as splints and braces.

Surlyn Copolymer

Surlyn Copolymer

Modern day golf balls are made up of Surlyn copolymer which belongs to family of high-performance ethylene copolymers containing acid groups partially neutralized using metal salts such as zinc, sodium and others.



Football is a team game played by both men and women. It has gone through a dramatic change over time. In 1863 British Football Federation was formalized this game.

Football materials

  • Cloths
  • Ball
  • Gloves
  • Goal post


The 1970 ball was made of leather but by 1974 the football had a "Durlast" polyurethane coating that provided waterproofing as well as protection from damage such as scuffs and tears.

Football contain

Outer layer – it is made of leather or plastic material

Internal layer – It is made of latex or butyl



It is made up of

  • Synthetic leather
  • Rubber
  • Neoprene
  • Cloth



Squash is a high-speed racquet sport played by two players in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball.

Squash playing equipments include

  • Squash ball
  • Racquet
  • Eye protection
  • Shoes

Squash ball

Squash ball

Squash balls, being made of a rubber compound, are of fairly low resilience. When a squash ball hits the racket strings and the wall and floor of the court, some of this energy is transformed into heat in the strings, wall, floor, and surrounding air and some into sound, but most of it becomes heat in the ball itself.

This has two effects: the air inside the ball effectively becomes ‘pressurized’, and the rubber compound from which the ball is made becomes more resilient.

Squash balls are between 39.5 and 40.5 mm in diameter, and have a mass of 23 to 25 grams and these are made up of

  • Polymers
  • Fillers
  • Vulcanizing agents
  • Processing aids



Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on a field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. Cricket was first played in southern England in the 16th century. By the end of the 18th century, it had developed into the national sport of England.

Cricket game requires following materials

  • Bat
  • Ball
  • Gloves
  • Helmet
  • Shoes
  • Pads
  • Wickets
  • Bails

Cricket Helmet

Cricket Helmet

Different parts of cricket helmet is made up

  • Titanium
  • Polycarbonate
  • ABS plastic
  • Polyester

Pole Vaulting

Pole Vaulting

Pole vaulting is a track and field event in which a person uses a long, flexible pole as an aid to leap over a bar. It has been a full medal event at the Olympic Games since 1896 for men and 2000 for women.

Pole vaulting pole is made up of carbon-fiber to promote higher jump. In recent years, carbon fiber has been added to the commonly used E-glass and S-glass materials.

Material Composition Percentage
S-Glass material Silicon dioxide 64-66%
  Aluminium oxide 24-26%
  Magnesium oxide 9-11%
E-Glass material Calcium oxide 16-25%
  Aluminium oxide 12-16%
  Boron 5-10%



Thermoplastic Polyester Elastomer

Polybutylene Terephthalate

Polyethylene Terephthalate

There are certain materials used in sports equipment which are used for different purposes and these materials are varies according to the purpose.

Material requirements for pole vault

Purpose                                     Materials

Low density                       Bamboo

Stiffness                            Aluminum

Strong                               Steel

Minimal twisting                Magnesium; Carbon fiber composite

Material requirements for Bicycle competition

Purpose                                        Materials

Low density                        Carbon fiber composite

Stiffness                             Aluminm

Strong                                Titanium

Toughness                          Magnesium

Fatigue resistance               Steel


Baseball, like softball, is unlike most other competitive sports in that the defense is given control of the ball. Equipment used in this game is

  • Baseball
  • Baseball bat
  • Baseball glove – It is usually lined with polyurethane film 
  • Bases
  • Helmet - Most helmets are made from crack-resistant, injection-molded plastic, such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or fiberglass.
  • Face mask
  • Mouth guard - Mouth guards are made of rubber or flexible polyvinyl, which is highly durable and easy to mold.
  • Uniform – These are made of a blend of synthetic fibers including nylon, polyester, rayon, and acetate.
  • Shin guard - Shin guards are made from fiberglass, polyurethane, or foam rubber



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