Podcast – Boron in Sports Equipment

Sep 29, 2022 | PODCASTS

Podcast – Boron in Sports Equipment

Welcome back to the Borates Today podcast. Today, we’re going to look at the role of boron in sports equipment.

Boron as boron fiber and boron steel, has excellent tensile strength. It is used in sports equipment, like golf clubs, fishing rods, tennis rackets, and bicycle frames. It renders them the required power, flexibility, lightness, and durability, thus contributing to better performance. The sports company Mizuno has emerged as a leading manufacturer of sports equipment composed of boron.

Boron in Sports Goods

Boron in Sports Goods

Boron fiber is the boron compound mainly used in applications for sporting goods. It is commonly known as boron filament. an amorphous element of B five byproduct representing a primary industrial usage of elemental or free boron. Boron fibers were created to increase stiffness in composite materials.

These fibers were initially developed when glass fibers were used mainly to reinforce composites; Boron fibers can be made by chemical vapor deposition of boron onto approximately 12 millimeters of tungsten or carbon wire. Born fibers are a hundred to 200 millimeters in diameter. These fibers will deteriorate when they contact aluminum or titanium matrices at temperatures above 500 degrees centigrade. Thus chemical vapor deposition is used to cover the fiber surface with a layer of Silicon carbide. Boron fibers have high compressive and tensile strength and are incredibly stiff. They have a strength between three to four GPa and Young’s modulus ranges from 380 to 400 GPa.

An epoxy matrix often accompanies the boron fiber. These fibers are so strong that they can repair cracked aircraft skins, let alone be used for sports goods. Because of its close thermal expansion to aluminium and the absence of galvanic corrosion potential, boron fibers are ideal for this purpose.

In terms of their use as a strong material in sports goods, the strength and flexibility for things like fishing, rods, tennis rackets, and golf clubs, for those rigid golf shafts and tennis rackets as well known.

For fishing roads, the roads feel for anglers have earned it cult status. In 1971, Don Phillips created the first fly fishing rod made from boron. The boron graphite hybrid rod was designed later. In 1974 boron rods were manufactured and were introduced to the fishing community. Boron was not available in long-term strips at the time and required graphite to support it.

The amount of boron found in so-called boron rods is typically less than 25%.

Boron is now usually used in the fishing poles’ butt-ends.. Some fishing rod blanks may have a layer of boron and other materials wrapped around them. This adds strength and power, and its stiffness makes it easy to recover from bends. The incorporation of graphite and other materials into fishing poles was a new development in technology since the eighties. RL Winston, Browning, and Shakespeare are some of the few remaining manufacturing companies that produce boron fishing poles. Fly rods, spinning rods and bait casting rods are standard boron rods.

In tennis, the Prince boron tennis racket was one of the first applications for boron fibers in sporting goods. Boron is lighter than carbon, the main constituent of graphite, so it was used in graphic composition to make the frame lighter and to make it stiffer, being denser for the same amount of material in a layup. Boron is a component of composite layup ingredients, but there are two main problems. It is more expensive and more fragile. It does transmit vibrations better than graphite because of its lightness and stiffness, and frames made of boron are very durable. But beginners who aren’t proficient in their swing may find that boron frames are difficult to control and more painful on the arms.

In golf clubs, the most effective use of boron fiber in  sports goods was in the early nineties when people used it in golf shafts. Longer length and boron were added to the golf shafts to improve feel, especially in Japan. With the introduction of Callaway Golf’s Big Bertha driver boron fiber gained popularity.

The driver was a huge hit with golfers. However, the shafts had breakage issues as the club did not have any reinforcement when the rod entered the club head. The problem was solved by inserting a small flag of boron fiber prepeg in the shaft area. This led to boron fiber golf equipment manufacturer OEMs.

Textron specialty materials, the precursor to specialty materials, Inc., introduced the boron-certified program. This program verified that the golf shafts bearing the boron-certified sticker had sufficient boron fiber for increased strength. The widespread use of boron fiber for golf shafts was ended when most manufacturers moved their manufacturing to China.

Boron is also used in driver’s faces for hardness. This new approach over the traditional way to make golf irons with steel, fire, and hammering from a blacksmith or by pouring molten metal into moles that resemble jello is a new innovation. Although you can still find forged clubs, modern machinery accounts for most of the forged iron production.

Mizuno, is a leader in golf equipment using boron. Boron technology is still used in ultra-lightweight golf shafts, golf club heads, and drivers for improved performance, strength, and durability. Mizuno claims it has figured out how to crack that nut. A Mizuno engineer says that it is different from standard forging in that it has a patent that covers bending and stretching before the club’s formation. The company has been adding boron to the forging process to create clubs for some years.

Only three parts per million boron are required. This results in a more robust and durable club but also has a thinner face. The forged iron lineup has a look that is only 1.7 millimeters thick. Mizuno cuts the space behind the face  using either an end mill cutter or a T slot cutter, depending on the club. It begins with a six inch long metal bar, which is stretched and bent into the desired shape. Hence it is easier to shape the final result later.

The club face is thinner for more speed. A faster ball travels, father. It can gain an additional yard or two by the increase of speed. Mizuno claims that it’s new forge clubs can increase speed up to three miles per hour, which could give you an extra yard or two under ideal conditions.

A wedge such as Mizuno’s T Seven is more durable because it is sharper, more precise and lasts longer. The JPX 919 model, introduced in 2018, is Mizuno’s fastest one piece forged steel iron. This weight reduction allows for a lower center of gravity making long and mid irons fly more easily.

And that’s all from Borates Today on boron in sports equipment. For more information on products using boron, please check out our website Borates Today and also our podcasts available on all podcast channels,  as well as our video features on YouTube. Thanks for listening and watching.

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