The markets: Sports and recreation (2011)
Composites are found in products used for 7 of the 10 most popular outdoor sports and recreational activities. Carbon fiber leads the way in this market: At least 17.6 million lb (8,000 metric tonnes) of the fiber will go into sports equipment annually by 2013.
Composites are found in products used in 7 of the 10 most popular outdoor sports and recreational activities. Glass- and carbon-reinforced composites (alone or in hybrids with other fibers) continue to replace wood and metal in fishing rods, tennis racquets, spars/shafts for kayak paddles, windsurfing masts and boards, hockey sticks, kites and bicycle handlebars, as well as in niche applications, such as fairings for recumbent bikes. Several carbon fiber producers estimated in 2009 that sporting goods will consume at least 17.6 million lb (8,000 metric tonnes) of carbon fiber by 2013, worldwide, despite the fact that consumer purchases of sporting goods dropped 12 percent between 2008 and 2009 according to the National Sporting Goods Assn. (Mt. Prospect, Ill.).
Many sporting goods manufacturers capitalize on carbon fiber cosmetics. One is Nike Bauer Hockey, which has produced ice hockey equipment since 1927. It uses TeXtreme fabric from Oxeon AB (Boras, Sweden), which is woven from spread tow bundles to form a wide checkerboard textile of very low areal weight, for player and goalie sticks. In addition to low weight, good drapability, and sharp appearance, the material behaves like cross-ply uni tapes, yielding better performance than a woven fabric.
Apex Watercraft’s new Tyr carbon fiber/epoxy prototype reimagines the typical kayak design and promises the highest performance possible.
The structural properties of composite materials are derived primarily from the fiber reinforcement. Fiber types, their manufacture, their uses and the end-market applications in which they find most use are described.
Although demand for carbon composites in aircraft has put a squeeze on long-established sporting goods categories, carbons use in sports soon will set new records.