Sporting manufacturers are always looking to create the most innovative equipment to improve performance for athletes using the latest technologies. Nanotechnology has been a component of many sporting brands and companies' products for over a decade now. So we decided to have a look a some of the top sports where nanotechnology is being used to give athletes a competitive edge:
The first tennis rackets made from high modulus graphite with carbon nanotubes, began to be used in the early 2000s. Roger Federer won many tennis tournaments with his nano-enhanced Wilson racket, ever since most other professionals use them because of the extra power that they generate.
It hasn't only been the rackets which have been improved by nano; the inner cores of balls are now coated with a nano defense barrier to maintain air pressure and bounce at least two times longer, increasing the playable time of the ball.
Shin-pads used by footballers are often made from nano-structured plastics, because they are light weight and its increased strength means that thin layers offer sufficient protection from a kick on the shins. Nano clay materials are also used in the linings of footballs as barrier materials which retain the pressure in the ball for longer.
Furthermore, football kit manufacturers have introduced fabrics which are naturally antibacterial, waterproof and oil repellent, anti odour and anti stain, with the help of added nano particles of silver and titanium.
In the golfing world, manufacturers have been filling imperfections in club shaft materials with nanoparticles; this improves the uniformity of the material that makes up the shaft and thereby improving your swing. For golf balls, technology using chemicals and physical properties in the material of the ball, has been created to help balls redistribute their weight on the fly in order to change slight direction to go where the golfer had intended.
In the NFL, almost every game produces an incident where a player suffers "concussion-like symptoms." Combining nanotechnology with foam, a smart-foam has been created that can be placed inside a football helmet to measure the impact of each hit. When compressed, the self-powered foam generates electrical signals that are transmitted wirelessly to a tablet or computer in the hands of a coach or trainer.
Yachts are now using sails based on new nano fabrics so that they gather more wind and are waterproof. The latest yacht masts are built using carbon nanotubes rather than aluminium for added lightness and strength.
Nanocomposite materials are also now being used in squash and badminton racquets, baseball bats, hockey sticks, snowboards, skis, fishing rods and poles, golf balls and golf clubs. Floyd Landis won the Tour de France on a lightweight cycle which had a nano-based plastic frame, and now it is possible to buy mountain bikes with plastic frames. While, nanotechnology-engineered wax is used in wax for alpine and nordic skis.