It is without a doubt that titanium has become one of the most versatile metals in the world, being used for the making of airframes, paint coatings and medical implants. New uses are continuously developed for titanium, with the field of sporting goods being one of high demand.
There are numerous reasons for which titanium is often used for the fabrication of sporting equipment, starting with the fact that it offers incredible strength and a reduced weight. From golf clubs to tennis racquets, we are seeing titanium becoming a common element of sports equipment. And new developments will continue to appear, with titanium changing the universe of sporting competitions.
Titanium alloys, excellent choices for sports equipment
The grade 2 titanium alloy is commonly used for the development of sporting goods, having moderate strength, excellent corrosion resistance and being easy to weld. Another common choice is the grade 9 titanium alloy, which has similar properties and an excellent design versatility to offer. It is preferred for the making of tennis racquets, with guaranteed torsion resistance.
The grade 5 titanium sheet, for example, can be used for the development of sporting goods and recreational equipment, having excellent strength and weldability. This particular alloy can be utilized for hollow cast golf club heads. Last, but not least, the SP-700, a high-strength titanium alloy, is often selected for such items, having an exceptional formability.
The titanium square tubing is a great choice for the making of sports equipment, as it is quite strong and yet relatively easy to model (drawing into tubing more specifically). Beta alloys are increasingly used for golf equipment, while the powdered version is preferred for the development of softball bats.
High strength to weight ratio
The number one reason for which titanium has become a popular choice for the development of sporting equipment is the high strength to weight ratio. This is particularly important for items such as golf clubs and bicycle parts. For instance, did you know that that lightest bicycle in the world has a titanium structure (weight 6 lbs.)?
Golf club heads are manufactured from titanium, delivering superior performance in comparison to traditional materials. In deciding to use this metal for the development of sporting goods, manufacturers also take into consideration the high resistance to corrosion and erosion. Safety equipments, such as the bolts securing climbing tracks, can be made from titanium.
What other sporting goods are made from titanium?
Titanium is a preferred choice for winter sport equipment, given the fact that it has the ability to conduct heat at a reduced rate (as opposed to steel). The use of titanium alloys in bobsled runners guarantees reduced frictional warming. Once the heat dissipates slowly, this leads to higher temperatures and, subsequently, to an improved gliding behavior.
In using the titanium alloy bar or the titanium alloy sheet for bobsled runners, manufacturers take into consideration the weight advantage. Titanium runners have half the weight of similar equipment, made from steel. The light weight is one of the main reasons for which titanium is chosen for the making of ice skating blades.
For figure skaters, titanium blades deliver another advantage. Titanium has a lower modulus of elasticity, which means that the blade will offer an improved spring during jumps. These properties are superior to the ones offered by steel, not to mention that titanium blades allow for a softer landing (especially when one performs high jumps). Sleigh runners are made from titanium in polar regions, as they have a high corrosion resistance and will not rust.
Competitive sports benefit from the use of titanium
Equipment pieces made from titanium deliver a superior advantage to those who practice competitive sports.
The bridle that horses carry in their mouths during competitions can be made from titanium, delivering the absolute best comfort and looking stylish at the same time (titanium mesh). Riders have the option of using high-end helmets, with the reinforcing median stripe being made from titanium.
The horseshoes can be made from titanium alloys, guaranteeing an easier ride. It is important to be aware that these shoes are as light as aluminum but their strength is three times than the one of steel. They deliver a high level of performance and, despite the initial high price, they represent a cost-effective alternative on the long run.
Titanium can be used for the faceguards of American football helmets – titanium wire has a reduced weight and a high resistance to forced impact. Anglers have the option of fishing rods with reels manufactured from titanium. Even pistols and guns have their housing made from titanium. Weapon casings made from this particular metal reduce the weight of firearms, improving the performance of policemen and soldiers.
New perspectives for titanium and sports equipment
It is clear that the lighter sports equipment brings an advantage to any kind of athletic activity. Whether the titanium-based equipment is moved by the athlete or used to transport the athlete, being powered by an external source, it guarantees increased performance.
Racing cars have recently begun to use titanium for various parts. For example, the titanium tube, as well as the grade 5 titanium sheet, can be used to develop exhaust systems for racing cars and motorcycles.
Thanks to the reduced weight, titanium is preferred for the development of bicycle parts. Almost any part of a bicycle can be made from titanium alloys, including the main tubes, chain, pedals, handlebars and saddle rails. In racing bikes, the whole gear shift mechanism can be developed using titanium as main material.
Athletes taking part in the Paralympics have begun to use racing wheelchairs made from titanium. Given the reduced weight and excellent aesthetics, manufacturers have also used titanium for the development of conventional wheelchairs. These are highly resistant to the common wear and tear process, especially since they do not require to be painted.
A particularly interesting development is the titanium-based air bottle. This is used by divers and firefighters, offering a definite weight advantage (in comparison to those made from aluminum or steel).
Titanium alloys have changed the universe of sporting equipment. Today, athletes can make use of tennis racquets with high torsion resistance and compete on lightweight bikes that guarantee increased performance. They climb on tracks secured with titanium bolts and compete in bobsled runners that have half the weight of conventional equipment.
In the future, we will only see more and more sports items made from titanium alloys. These will support enhanced achievements, having higher strength and a reduced weight. From ice skates with titanium blades to the air bottle used by divers, we cannot wait to see what else the world of titanium has to offer!