How Specialty Polymers Improve Performance in Sporting Goods and Equipment
In many consumer industries, such as sporting goods, performance is one of the most important product qualities. Whether manufacturers are creating equipment for the most competitive sports applications or enhancing mid-range sporting goods, improved performance is essential for ideal consumer experiences and safety. Although lower-quality products may use materials like metal or conventional plastics, specialty polymers for sporting goods are suitable for enhancing performance in a range of applications. Solvay designs a portfolio of specialty polymers and elastomers that manufacturers can use to improve performance in today’s top sporting goods.
Excellent Strength and Stiffness
In many sporting goods applications, strength and stiffness are necessary not only for product performance but for athlete safety as well. For metal replacement in sporting goods, polymers must provide manufacturers with comparable mechanical properties to facilitate outstanding strength and stiffness in a range of applications. For example, Ixef® PARA and XencorTM LFT Compounds can be used to replace metal in the structural components of bicycles. These materials maintain outstanding strength and rigidity to form a stable structure and also offer lightweighting benefits for a higher-performing bicycle.
Reliable Dimensional Stability
For truly reliable performance over time, sporting goods must also ensure dimensional stability and impressive creep resistance. From kayaks to archery equipment, a variety of sporting equipment must perform despite the presence of heat, moisture and other environmental factors. Sporting goods manufactured with high-performance polymers offer consumers durability and dimensional stability that results in longer service life and more reliable performance. Solvay’s XencorTM PARA combines outstanding stiffness in indoor and outdoor conditions with excellent dimensional stability for improved safety and performance over its lifetime.
Elastomers with Improved Chemical Resistance
While specialty polymers offer unmatched strength, stiffness and dimensional stability, some sporting goods and accessories require different properties to ensure high performance. For example, in watchbands, fabrics and other sporting applications, flexibility and chemical resistance properties are essential to performance. Elastomers can provide the necessary mechanical properties as well as the complex resistance to stains and sweat that are needed in many sporting goods and accessories. Solvay’s Tecnoflon® FKM is a fluoroelastomer that offers manufacturers a multifunctional solution for sports accessories that require outstanding UV and chemical resistance, a soft, silky touch and excellent durability. Specifically, elastomers for sports accessories can promote reliable performance and longevity where rubbers and other materials are insufficient.