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Why the tensor rubbers got so bouncy.

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igorponger View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10/11/2021 at 2:07am
1965 is the year that the amazing rubber globe encaptured America all over.. This wonderful synthetic material originally known as Zectron was later re-opened in 1994 by a chemist of Germany keen of the sport.
Yes, the Superball will produce recognizable "clicking" sound on impact, the attribute much beloved by all the table tennis folks.

Today's table tennis Tensor rubbers by ESN Germany are all being made of synthetic stuff of BLACK BUNA (derivative of Butadiene polymer), the stuff featuring enormous bounce capability.

QUERY: What makes a Superball so super?

The patent for Superballs filed by its inventor Norman Stingley in the year 1965, lists as its main ingredient a well-known polymer known as polybutadiene, a name that does mean something to chemists. The prefix “but-” means a four-carbon chain. The “-ene” ending means double bond, and “di-” means two. So “butadiene” means a four-carbon chain with two double bonds: CH2=CHCH=CH2

Apparently, when polybutadiene is vulcanized at a temperature of 160 °C and a pressure of 70 atm (according to Stingley’s patent), it creates a cross-linked polymer with a resilience of 92%. This meant that if you dropped a Superball from 100.0 cm onto a hard surface, it would bounce back to about 92.0 cm, then 84.6 cm, then 77.9 cm, and so on, always bouncing to about 92% of its previous height. When many elastic substances are distorted, they regain their original shape, but in the process, some of the energy that went into distorting the substance is lost as heat. If it didn’t, you could theoretically produce a Superball that would bounce forever (ignoring air resistance). Anyone who has played squash or racquetball is familiar with how the ball heats up the more it is bounced.
Vulcanized polybutadiene only loses 8% of its energy to heat per collision, and therefore bounces back with 92% resiliency. This was much more than any bouncing ball ever manufactured in the World's History.
This alone was impressive, but it alone would not have made the Superball the hottest selling toy of the mid-1960s. A second remarkable property of Stingley’s “Zectron” was its high coefficient of friction. Try pulling a Superball across a smooth surface, and you will appreciate this effect. When bounced across the floor to a friend, the first bounce causes the ball to acquire a significant topspin. This topspin then propels the ball with remarkable speed on the second bounce, making it nearly impossible to catch. This high coefficient of friction also allowed for all kinds of tricks, the most famous of the being the under-table bounce: If the ball is bounced off the floor so that it hits the underside of a table, the aforementioned topspin makes the ball rebound straight back to the thrower. If you have never seen this, give it a try.
You can now get a pretty good re-make of the Superball from some China marketplace directly.

Be happy.

Edited by igorponger - 10/11/2021 at 2:33am
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