Did you know that carbon fiber (yes, the same one NASCAR uses), together with graphene, is a $2 billion U.S. industry?
NASCAR isn’t the only force driving the growth of composite use in the country though. In fact, composites now play many roles in the global sporting goods industry. Experts say that composites in the sports segment alone will have a value of $4.8 billion come 2024.
What exactly is so special about composite materials that made them such a huge hit though? What is it about them that makes experts believe they’ll be around for a long time?
We’ll address all these questions and more, so be sure to keep reading!
Composites in Today’s Sporting Goods Industry
This may come as a surprise, but composites are in more than half of the products used in outdoor sports today! To be more specific, seven in 10 of the most popular outdoor and recreational activities. From tennis rackets to fishing rods to skis, you’ll find composites in all of this sports gear.
The Reasons Behind the Boom in the Use of Composites in Sporting Goods
Composites are much lighter than many other materials used in sporting goods. Corrosion doesn’t even affect them. However, these are only two of the reasons they’ve become a staple in the sports industry.
Let’s take a closer look at these properties that make composites exceptional.
One of the main reasons for the use of composites in sporting goods is their low weight. For instance, carbon fiber is at least four times lighter compared to steel. It’s also much lighter than aluminum.
Since composites like carbon fiber are so light, they help improve athletic performance. Take carbon fiber in sports like tennis, for example. The use of these composites drastically reduces the weight of tennis rackets.
This reduced weight then makes it easier to raise the racket. At the same time, it boosts player response and lets them hit the ball much faster. They can also run faster to catch the ball and hit it back to the other side of the court.
Composites also have better dimensional stability than other materials, such as wood. When exposed to heat or cold, composites keep their shape and do not warp or buckle. Whereas wood, some types of metal, and other alloys shrink and swell.
Since many sports are outdoor-based, there’s a need for corrosion-resistant equipment. After all, external elements like moisture, humidity, and salt destroys metals and alloys. In fact, corrosion losses all over the world amount to a whopping $2.5 trillion every year.
The good news is, composites do not rust nor do they corrode. Also, compared to aluminum, they do a better job holding up against other outdoor elements.
Did you know that composites now provide better protection to our military personnel?
That’s right! Composites for military applications range from combat helmets to body armor. Armored vehicles, tanks, and submarines also now consist of composites.
Since these materials protect our servicemen, then the same goes true for athletes! That’s why you’ll now find composites in sports helmets, masks, and protective clothing. Even protective eyewear and footwear, as well as pads, have composites in them.
The Bright Outlook for Composites in the Sports Sector
The benefits of composites we’ve listed above should be enough to make them a mainstay in sports. But will the demand for these materials also increase?
Very likely, and here are some of the reasons why this is the case.
Physical Activities Are On the Rise in the U.S.
Although recent studies show that 28% of Americans are inactive, those who are active are also on the rise. In fact, almost all generations are seeing more of their members become more active!
Adults aren’t the only ones enjoying sports and recreational activities though. A study showed that in 2017, there were 700,000 more kids who started to take part in physical activities.
As more kids and adults play sports, there’s no doubt that demand for sporting goods will also rise. This will then lead to an increase in composite-based sporting goods. After all, these materials offer many advantages over traditional materials.
Safety is the Top Priority
Safety is always the top priority of parents who have sports-loving kids. That’s why they’ll pay more for sporting goods built to last and can withstand constant use.
With composites having impressive strength and protective properties, parents can feel at ease. They’ll feel less worried that their kid’s skis or snowboard will crack as they go down the slopes.
Sports Lovers Pay More for High-Performance Gear
Aside from safety, athletes and sports lovers are ready to pay more for better equipment. A lighter and more stable bike, for instance, can help cyclists reach the finish line faster than the rest. A golf club that offers a better grip can prevent it from turning in one’s hand.
These are only some of the features made possible by composite materials. Moreover, because composite-based equipment is safer, users will feel more at ease. They can then concentrate on their game — and winning it.
Composites Are Here to Stay
As you can see, composites are too valuable for the sporting goods industry not to keep using them. With all the benefits they bring, it won’t be a surprise for them to secure a permanent place in the sports sector.
Interested in learning more about composites and how you can use them for your own ventures? Then please feel free to get in touch with us now! We’ll be happy to guide you through the many potential uses of composites in your industry.