The faces of the paddle blades are the surface with which we hit the ball.
Depending on the composition used on the faces of a racket, we will achieve a greater or lesser hardness in the racket and, therefore, different performance on the court.
What are faces made of?
Although the most widespread version is that the faces of a racket are made of fiberglass or carbon fiber, from the point of view of manufacturing, the materials that are really used are glass fabric and fabric of carbon.
The face of a paddle tennis racket is made up of different layers of these fabrics, superimposed on each other. The number of layers of most rackets on the market ranges between 3 and 6 layers.
The overlapping of the fabric layers is done with different orientations. The first layer is oriented vertically, the next layer is oriented at 45 degrees, and the next layer is oriented vertically again. With this we achieve greater durability and resistance in the faces, preventing the faces from breaking.
These fabrics, similar to a soft cloth, are joined by using epoxy resin, which in turn hardens these fabrics into hardened fiber boards.
In recent years, the use of materials other than glass or carbon fabric, such as graphene, has proliferated. The reality is that the use of this material is more for marketing issues than manufacturing issues.
At the manufacturing level, the use of graphene is reduced to combining small doses of graphene oxide in the epoxy resin, which hardly produces changes in the behavior of the faces.
The glass fabric
Glass fabric (or fiberglass when combined with epoxy resin) is the softest and most flexible material used on the faces of a paddle tennis racket.
This material is essential in the manufacture of the faces of a paddle tennis racket, since it provides the necessary elastic character so that the face does not break. A padel racket composed solely of carbon fiber would break at the first blow, since it would not have sufficient elastic character.
All padel rackets on the market use layers of fiberglass on some of their faces, in order to increase durability and achieve a level of hardness suitable for the game.
|ADVANTAGES OF FIBERGLASS|
The main advantage provided by the glass fabric, as we have mentioned, is its elastic nature.
A racket with its faces made entirely of fiberglass will provide us with greater ball output in slow hits (bottom of the court) than a racket with layers of carbon fiber on its faces, since it will allow greater flexion and greater spring effect.
This material allows for softer touches than blades with a layer of carbon fiber, resulting in the ideal option for players looking to prevent and/or recover from arm problems.
From an economic point of view, glass fabric is cheaper than carbon fabric, which allows lower prices for fiberglass blades than for carbon fiber blades.
|DRAWBACKS OF FIBERGLASS|
The main drawback of glass fabric is that it has a lower durability than carbon fabric. Being a softer material that flexes more, throughout its useful life it will have to make a greater effort to recover its starting position, thus reducing the time in which it responds with maximum performance.
To this we have to add the fact that, as it is a softer material than carbon fiber, it is more likely to break when hitting the wall or the blade of our partner.
At the level of behavior on the court, the full fiberglass faces offer less power in fast hits than blades with layers of carbon, by absorbing part of the force that we print in these hits.
The carbon fabric
The carbon fabric (or carbon fiber when combined with epoxy resin), is the most used material in the current market, especially in high-end blades.
In recent years, a strong R&D work has been carried out in the application of this fabric in the world of paddle tennis, giving rise to different carbon fabrics
Flat fabric and twill fabric
In the first place, we can classify the carbon fabric based on the orientation of its threads.
We will talk about flat or orthogonal carbon fabric to refer to the fabric composed of vertical threads.ales criss-crossed with horizontal threads. This is the most commonly used fabric today, as it is a more closed and compact fabric.
On the contrary, if we talk about twill fabric, we will refer to the carbon fabric composed of diagonally intertwined threads, achieving a more open position and a point more elasticity.
Carbon threads: 3k carbon vs. 12k carbon vs. 18k carbon vs. 24k carbon
In recent years, the use of carbon fiber has increased so much in padel rackets that it has given rise to the use of different types of carbon fiber in padel rackets. Currently, we can distinguish between 3K carbon, 12K carbon, 18K carbon, 24K carbon, etc.
The difference between these carbons is the number of threads used in each carbon band. Therefore, a 12K carbon means that 12,000 threads per stripe are used, while a 3K carbon uses 3,000 threads per stripe.
The main difference between 3K carbon and 12K carbon is that 12K carbon is a fabric with greater flexibility than 3K carbon. Translated to behavior on the court, 12K carbon will provide a softer feel than 3K carbon, resulting in greater ball release from baseline and less power in spikes.
Extrapolating this behavior to the different types of carbon fiber, the more threads used per strip (higher K), the greater the flexibility of the carbon (and therefore the softer the feel of the blade), and less weight will have that carbon.
For this reason, higher K carbon fibers (12K, 18K, 24K, etc.) are often used with denser rubbers (heavier rubbers), while lower K carbon fibers (heavier) are usually used with softer rubbers (lower weight rubbers).
Constructive form: tubular form vs flat form
We can distinguish two types of constructive form for the carbon fabric, the tubular form and the flat form:
The tubular or circular shape, characterized by using a carbon wound in a tube or in a circle, is the shape used for carbons with fewer threads such as 3k carbon.
The flat shape, known by its trademark TeXtreme, uses flat carbon ribbons, creating larger and more visible carbon windows than carbon in tubular form. This constructive form is used in carbons with a greater number of threads (from 12K to 24K), since if we used the tubular form in these fabrics, it would result in too high a weight and too large pores. div>
The flat shape or TeXtreme is characterized by having a lower weight than the tubular shape, and has a greater elastic component than tubular carbon.
In general, the combination of carbons with more threads (from 12K and up) + flat construction form results in a softer touch than carbons with fewer threads (3K) + tubular construction. span>
ADVANTAGES OF CARBON FIBER
Before talking about the advantages and disadvantages of carbon over fiberglass, it should be mentioned that these are accentuated the greater the hardness of the carbon derived from the use of fewer threads. Thus, a 24K carbon would be at an intermediate point, both in advantages and disadvantages, between fiberglass and 3K carbon.
The first advantage that should be mentioned of the use of carbon fabric on the faces of a paddle tennis racket is its greater durability. Being a material that does not flex as much as glass fabric, the effort required to recover its initial position is less, thus extending the useful life of the material.
The second advantage to mention is its greater resistance to shocks than glass fabric, reducing the chances of breakage due to accidental shocks.
Focusing on aspects of the game, carbon fiber provides greater power in quick shots such as finishing and greater control than fiberglass, since the material does not absorb the force that we impart by bending less than fiberglass. glass, thus eliminating the spring effect.
DRAWBACKS OF CARBON FIBER
The main drawback of the carbon fabric is that it requires a higher degree of demand in the game than the glass fabric. As it is a harder and less flexible material than fiberglass, the ball output in slow hits such as the bottom of the track that we will achieve with the carbon fabric is lower than that provided by the glass fabric, requiring a greater effort. in the hit.
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