Squash/Badminton: Ramping up Biomimetic

Jamie Douglas, group product manager for tennis at Dunlop Slazenger International Ltd, updates SGB Sports on the Biomimetic technology, and tells us about its potential application in other racket sports like squash and badminton.

The concept behind biomimetics is nature inspired engineering. It is a field of engineering that is used in many different industries such as sport, aerospace, architecture, automotive, etc. If you Google biomimetic you will see hundreds of examples where this concept has been used in different industries and products.

We have taken this concept and applied it to racket technology to enhance performance and are using three technologies that we have incorporated into the new racket range.

Aeroskin is a textured skin applied to the surface of the racket which is inspired by shark skin. This texture creates localised turbulence on the racket surface which reduces aerodynamic drag by up to 25 per cent which enhances racket head speed and power.

HM6 Carbon involves taking ultra-high modulus carbon and engineering it into a hexagonal structure which is inspired by honeycomb. HM6 is placed between layers of standard carbon in the throat of the racket during the layup process. This helps to reduce unwanted racket vibrations by up to 10 per cent, thereby enhancing the feel of the racket.

Gecko-Tac is a grip technology inspired by the feet of Geckos. These creatures have the amazing ability to stick to any surface in any condition and this inspired us to create an ultra-tacky grip using a special treatment to the PU grip. This, combined with a perforated design to wick away moisture, provides up to 50 per cent more grip than previous Dunlop grips giving ultimate control and precision.

All our current Dunlop tour team members are endorsing the new line of Biomimetic rackets, with the likes of Fernando Verdasco, Nikolay Davydenko, Jurgen Melzer, Nicolas Almagro, Tommy Robredo and Dominika Cibulokva to name a few playing with them.

At retail level, the Dunlop Biomimetic range has been very positively received by dealers and consumers and as a result we have seen a significant increase in sales over our previous ranges. People can identify with the concept of nature inspired engineering because they can see examples of this in many different industries and products.

The concept is also a breath of fresh air to the tennis industry because it has technology that you can see and touch unlike a lot of competitor rackets which have ‘hidden’ technologies which are often hard to understand.

Being able to see and touch technology has been a big plus for this range because it makes the technology and performance benefits easy to understand.

The concept can also be easily adapted to other racket sports and will flow down on to Dunlop squash, badminton and racquetball equipment.

The principles of faster racket speed and manoeuvrability, better feel and enhanced grip work well for all racket sports. Biomimetic as a technological concept has the potential to be applied to all Dunlop sporting categories and will be used in the new Dunlop golf range to be launched later in the year.

The possibilities for new technologies and designs under the Biomimetic umbrella are endless, not just for tennis but for all sports that Dunlop is involved with.