With a graphene-infused racquet, of course! It’s made by HEAD YouTek, and it’s called the Graphene Speed Pro. It is “one of the first racquets to deliver both crushing power and precise control,” according to David Cassilo, author of the article in which I first read about this oh-so-fancy racquet. But why would Superman use it? Well, the Man of Steel would obviously need something that could hold up to his extraterrestrial strength, and according to Daniel Engbar in the article, “Science of Blockbusters,” the only realistic material out of which to make a bulletproof bodysuit is graphene, a flexible, ultrathin material that is “50 times stronger than steel.” And if I were a clever man like the hero formerly known as Kal-El, I would build my sporting equipment out of a material that I knew would be strong enough for my insane muscles, and that would be graphene. But what is it? How does it work? Great questions!
Graphene is like graphite, but much thinner and much stronger. While graphite is made up of layers and layers of little squares of carbon, graphene is a solid, single-atom layer of carbon in a honeycomb pattern. For how thin it is, it is “orders of magnitude stronger than other materials of the same weight.” You can stretch it, see through it, and conduct heat through it. When YouTek started making a better and newer tennis racquet, they knew they’d have to add weight to the frame to add momentum, but not so much weight that it was hard to control. So they added a little weight at the top of the head and the handle. But then, less weight in the middle caused cracking, so they turned to a new material that would reinforce the middle without adding more weight. This material was graphene and it works!
You might think that with all of its super qualities, this is the perfect material for a supersuit, and you’d be right. But Under Armour, the athletic clothing brand, doesn’t want graphene for its durability. They want to conduct heat through it! The idea is to overlay graphene circuits in their textile prototypes. This way, they can monitor heart rate and body temperature during different types of exercise and learn more about how to make their products even better and even more efficient. Cool, right? And the material will be so durable that you can even throw it in the washing machine! Way cool! Go graphene!
Speaking of supersuits, what are you going to be for Halloween?
Cassilo, David. “Making a Racquet.” Popular Science, pg. 24. June 2013.
Engber, Daniel. “Science of Blockbusters.” Popular Science, pg. 71. July 2013.
Photo source: http://kevware.com/tennis/?p=6609