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Publication numberUS3889951 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 17, 1975
Filing dateFeb 15, 1973
Priority dateApr 5, 1972
Publication numberUS 3889951 A, US 3889951A, US-A-3889951, US3889951 A, US3889951A
InventorsWilliam H Schaefer, Richard E Bender
Original AssigneeGen Dynamics Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Laminated reinforcing facing for a game racket
US 3889951 A
Abstract
A composite game racket having improved stiffness and uniformity is disclosed. Rackets are light bats consisting of a netting stretched in an open frame attached to a handle and which are used for striking the ball in tennis and similar games. The racket comprises a shell with a high strength fiber reinforced plastic facing laminated to each face of the shell. A preferred fiber orientation in the novel facing is disclosed in which layers of unidirectionally oriented fibers are arranged with the fibers of each layer at an angle of at least about 45 DEG to the fibers in next adjacent layers. The shell may be internally recessed in a truss-like pattern to provide lightness with strength. The handle of the racket includes a pair of plastic pallets secured to the handle portion of the shell and covered with a covering material, such as a thin leather strip winding. The finished racket is finally strung in a conventional manner and is then ready for use.
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United States Patent [1 1 Schaefer et al.

1 1 LAMINATED REINFORCING FACING FOR A GAME RACKET [75] Inventors: William H. Schaefer; Richard E.

Bender, both of San Diego, Calif.

[73] Assignee: General Dynamics Corporation, San

Diego, Calif.

[22] Filed: Feb. 15, 1973 [21] Appl. No: 332,956

Related US. Application Data [63] Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 241,176. April 5.

1972, Pat. No. 3.840.230.

[52] US. Cl. 273/73 F; 273/D1G. 23 [51] Int. Cl. A63B 49/10 [58] Field of Search. 273/73 R, 73 C, 73 F, DlG. 7; 161/91, 92

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2.099.735 11/1937 Hall 273/73 G 2.414.125 1/1947 Rheirlfrank 273/D1G. 7 2.428.325 9/1947 Collins 273/73 F UX 2,742,931 4/1956 DeGanahl 273/D1G. 7 2.815.015 12/1957 De Giacomo... 273/D1G. 7 2,836,529 5/1958 Morris 273/73 F UX 2,878,020 3/1959 Robinson 273/73 F 3.466.219 9/1969 Schwartz 273/1316. 23 3.640.533 2/1972 Davis 273/73 F 3.644.165 2/1972 Chen 273/73 F UX 3.690.658 9/1972 Howe 273/73 FX 3,691,000 9/1972 Kalnin 273/DIG. 7

[4 1 June 17, 1975 3.787.051 l/l974 Johns 273/73 F FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLlCATlONS 234.495 7/1961 Australia 273/73 G OTHER PUBLlCATlONS Science Journal" magazine; article Carbon Fibres by W. T. Gunston', Feb. 1969; pgs. 39-49; Copy in 273 Digest 23.

Primary Examiner-Richard .l. Apley Attorney, Agent, or Firm.lohn R. Duncan [57] ABSTRACT A composite game racket having improved stiffness and uniformity is disclosed. Rackets are light bats consisting of a netting stretched in an open frame at tached to a handle and which are used for striking the ball in tennis and similar games. The racket comprises a shell with a high strength fiber reinforced plastic facing laminated to each face of the shell. A preferred fiber orientation in the novel facing is disclosed in which layers of unidirectionally oriented fibers are arranged with the fibers of each layer at an angle of at least about 45 to the fibers in next adjacent layers. The shell may be internally recessed in a truss-like pattern to provide lightness with strength. The handle of the racket includes a pair of plastic pallets secured to the handle portion of the shell and covered with a covering material, such as a thin leather strip winding. The finished racket is finally strung in a conventional manner and is then ready for use.

15 Claims, 18 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUN 17 I975 SNEU FIG.6

FIG.5

PATENTEDJUN]? I975 3 9 951 FIG. l5

FIG. ll

FIG. l4

LAMINATED REINFORCING FACING FOR A GAME RACKET CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is a continuation in part of copending US. Pat. application Ser. No. 24l.l76. filed Apr. 5. 1972. now US. Pat. No. 3,840,230

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to tennis rackets or the like and. more specifically, to a racket formed from reinforced plastic materials.

Strung rackets for use in tennis and similar games have long been made from solid wood and strung with gut or nylon strings. Manufacture of high quality rack ets is a complex process. Despite great care in manu facture, the playing characteristics of wood rackets vary greatly due to natural variations in the wood used and manufacturing process variables.

Playing characteristics of wood rackets also vary with changes in temperature and humidity and with age of the racket. which changes may also cause the head to warp due to varying string tension.

Recently, steel and aluminum rackets have been developed in order to obtain greater uniformity. However, it has been found that these metal rackets do not provide the same playing qualities as wood rackets, since sufficient stiffness cannot be provided without excessive weight. Also, metal rackets frequently have short useful lives, due to cracking apparently caused by metal fatigue or stress concentrations.

Rackets are also being manufactured from fiberglass reinforced plastics. These rackets. however. generally are overly flexible and do not provide the desired stiff ness for equivalent weight. Also, they lack uniformity and are expensive due to the number of manual manufacturing steps.

No matter which material has been used, there have always been problems in providing sufficient strength in the racket head to resist stresses during stringing of the racket. As stringing progresses, severe stress concentrations result in portions not yet supported by strings. As stringing continues, the locations of stress concentrations shift. The racket frame may severely warp or break due to these stresses if the frame lacks the strength and stiffness to resist the stresses induced by the very taut strings. Generally, attempts to strengthen the frame by increasing its cross-section area have not been successful due to the resulting weight increase and balance shift to the head.

Thus, there is a continuing need for rackets of improved strength, stiffness and playing characteristics.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide a racket of improved strength and stiffness.

Another object of this invention is to provide a racket having improved resistance to stringing stresses.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a simple and consistent method of manufacturing rackets.

A further object of this invention is to provide a racket facing of improved strength and stiffness.

The above objects, and others, are. accomplished in accordance with this invention by a racket for tennis or the like which basically comprises a shell with a high strength fiber reinforced plastic facing laminated to each face of the shell. Preferably, the facing includes both continuous fibers following the facing shape and transverse fibers. The shell may have a truss-like internal structure which is covered by the facing. This preferred internal structure provides high strength with low weight and supports the strings in a desirable manner. Such a preferred shell may preferably be formed by injection molding. since this allows rapid production of a highly uniform product. The racket is completed by the addition ofa pair of pallets to the handle portion of the shell, after which a surface layer of thin leather strips or the like may be wound around the handle por tion to provide a desired gripping surface.

The racket may have any desired shape. In general, an elliptical or round frame is preferred. The method of the present invention is adaptable to a wide variety of frame shapes.

The racket shell may be formed from any suitable material having the required properties. The shell ma terial should have high stiffness. good impact resistance. good dimensional stability and high fatigue resis tance. Typical shell materials include wood (which may be solid or thin plies laminated together or to plies of other materials). metals such as aluminum, titanium, magnesium, or steel, synthetic resins [which may be reinforced with fibers such as plastic. glass. graphite or boron fibers) or a combination of these materials. Polycarbonate and polyphenylene oxide resins are preferred shell materials since they may easily be injection molded to produce shells of complex configuration and these materials have a flexural modulus in a preferred 2 X 10 to 20 X 10 psi range and an Izod impact resistance in the preferred range of from about 2 to 15 ft.- lb./in. (notched bar). Where at least a portion of the shell comprises such a synthetic resin. the resin may include fillers or additives to improve desired properties. Typically. glass. boron or graphite fibers may be added to the resin. For example. up to 40 volume per cent randomly chopped glass fibers. typically having lengths of from about 0.l to 0.25 inch may be added to im prove strength properties. While the shell may be solid shell material, it is generally preferred to recess the faces and the handle portion in a truss-like pattern to reduce shell weight. Where the shell primarily comprises a molded or formed metal or resin, the pockets which produce a truss-like internal configuration may be easily formed during the shell molding step. Where the shell is solid wood. desired recesses may be formed by a conventional routing operation. Where the shell is formed from laminated plies of wood or other materials, the recesses may either be pre-formed in the plies or routed out after the lamination step.

The weight of the shell is determined largely by shell thickness, the internal structure and the material selected. Where it is desired to market a line of similar rackets having different weights. varying shell thickness to vary the racket weight has been found to be convenient and effective. Alternatively, the thickness of any truss-like internal webs may be varied. if desired, any internal openings or pockets of the shell may be filled with a foamed synthetic resin. In a typical racket of the sort described herein, a reduction of the thickness of the shell in the plane of the racket of 0.05 inch provides approximately one ounce difference in shell weight.

The facing layers may comprise any suitable high strength fiber in a synthetic resin matrix. Best results are obtained with fibers having Youngs modulus of from about 20 X It) to about 80 X IO psi and density of from about 0.05 to about 0.09 lb/in. Therefore. fibers having these properties are preferred. Especially suitable fibers include high-strength graphite fibers. such as those available from Union Carbide Corporation under the trademark ThorneF and from Great Lakes Carbon. and high-strength organic fibers such as those available from E. I. duPont de Nemours & Co. under the trademark PRD-49.

The high-strength fibers may be imbedded in any suitable synthetic resin. The resin selected should have high impact resistance, good dimensional stability and good peel strength. In general, best results are obtained with epoxy. polyester, polyimide and phenolic resins.

Preferably, a plurality of layers of substantially paral- Iel fibers make up the main portion of the facing. The main fibers in the body of the facing preferably are ori ented with the fibers in a parallel arrangement from the handle portion. around the racket face and back to the handle. This provides maximum strength and stiffness in the desired directions. For optimum results and long racket life, at least one layer of fiber cloth" may be bonded to the fiber body portion. This cloth may have about 50 percent each warp and woof fibers, or may be up to I percent warp fibers, in which case the cloth will consist of a single layer of parallel contiguous fibers. While this single layer form is preferred as part of a multi-Iaycr facing, the cloth may be woven or matted. if desired. The transverse fiber layer may be at any suitable position in the facing laminate. However, it is pre ferred that the transverse fiber layer be at the outer surface of the facing, away from the shell. If desired, surface layers may be formed on the facing for appearance, surface smoothness, or other desired purposes. The handle pallets may be formed from any suitable material, such as wood or plastic. Acrylonitrilebutadienestyrene (ABS) polymers are preferred, since they are inexpensive. easily injection molded, and are sufficiently flexible to give a desirable handle feel". If desired, any suitable covering material, such as leather, fabric or plastic sheet or strip material, may be added over the racket handle to improve the grip characteristics. Typically. the circumference of the racket grip (circumference of the pallets plus the leather or other covering) ranges from about 4 to inches. Preferably, eight different pallet moldings are prepared, ranging from 4 to 5 inches in circumference in one-eighth inch increments, so that the racket can be sized to meet any players preference.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Further details of the invention will be understood upon reference to the drawing, which illustrates a preferred embodiment of the racket of this invention.

In the drawing:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a complete racket;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view illustrating the major racket components;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the face of the racket;

FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the racket shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged detail view showing the base of the racket taken on line S5 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged section view through the racket handle, taken on line 6-6 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged section view through the racket throat and frame. taken on line 7-7 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged transverse section view through the racket frame, taken on line 8-8 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 9 is a longitudinal detail view of a portion of the frame, taken on line 99 in FIG. 3.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged section view through the racket frame, taken on line 10-10 in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a plan view of the facing;

FIG. 12 is a side view of the facing;

FIG. 13 is an enlarged section view through the facing frame, taken on line l3l3 in FIG. 11;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged section view through the facing handle, taken on line I414 in FIG. 11;

FIG. 15 is an enlarged, partially cut-away plan view of the throat area of the facing;

FIG. 16 is a plan view of a handle pallet;

FIG. 17 is a section view of the pallet taken on line 17- l7 in FIG. 16; and

FIG. 18 is an enlarged section view through the pallet. taken on line I8I8 in FIG. 16.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING An overall view of a complete. strung, tennis racket is shown in FIG. 1. The racket basically consists of a shell 10 having a fiber reinforced plastic facing 12 on each face. The racket frame or head portion 14 is strung with a taut gut or nylon string 16 which passes through a plurality of transverse holes 18 in frame 14. A pair of pallets 20 are secured to the sides of handle portion 22 of shell 10 and wrapped with a thin covering 24 to provide a comfortable grip area.

The relationship of the major racket components can more clearly be seen in the exploded view of FIG. 2. Shell 10 is preferably recessed at 26 on each face to receive facing 12, giving a smoothly contoured surface to the completed racket. Alternatively, the faces of shell 10 could be smooth and facing 12 could cover the entire face of shell 10 or could be narrower and have tapered edges to blend into the shell faces. Behind recesses 26 shell 10 in this embodiment is pocketed in a truss-like pattern to provide maximum strength with minimum weight. These truss structures are hidden by facing 12 in the completed racket.

Facing 12 extends entirely aroung frame 14 to provide stiffness and strength to resist impact against a ball in play, and also to strengthen frame 14 against varying stresses in the plane of frame 14 during stringing. Facing 12 extends from frame 14 well down handle 22, adding strength to the racket throat portion 28, which is often weak in rackets made from other materials. Facing 12 also adds desired stiffness to handle 22. Stiffness of the different portions of the racket can easily be varied by varying the cross-sectional area or crosssectional shape of the facing 12 at different locations to give the racket the desired playing characteristics.

A groove 30 is preferably provided in the outer surface of frame 14 so that the string is recessed as it passes between holes 18. This protects the string against abrasion, should the racket strike the court playing surface during use.

Pallets 20 substantially surround the ends of handle 22. Pallet 20 are securely held in place by sides 32 which extend around the sides of handle 22 and by pins 34 on pallets 20 which enter holes 36 in handle 22. The bases of pallets 20 are preferably recessed at 38 so that the manufacturer's trademark or other emblem may be emplaced there.

Facing 12 may be secured to shell in any suitable manner. While pallets are held in place by the inter locking effect of sides 32 and pins 34 together with the leather wrapping, they may also be adhesively bonded to shell 10, if desired.

When assembled as illustrated in FIG. I, the resulting racket has outstanding strength, stiffness and playing characteristics. These characteristics result in large measure from the configuration and composition of the component parts, which are illustrated in detail in the remaining figures.

The top of shell 10 is shown in FIG. 3 and the side of the shell in FIG. 4. This is a single unitary member which is preferably formed from a polycarbonate resin in a single injection molding step. The truss-like pattern of pockets in shell 10 is arranged so as to permit convenient production in a single simple mold.

As best seen in FIGS. 3, 5, and 6, the handle portion 22 can be thought of as a solid polycarbonage member with a plurality of trianular recesses or pockets 40 extending nearly through the handle alternately from the upper and lower surfaces thereof. Pockets extending upwardly in FIG. 3 are illustrated by broken lines 42. This produces a very strong truss-like structure with very light weight, since the webs between adjacent pockets 40 and hidden pockets 42 are thin, and the base 44 of each pocket is thin, as seen in FIG. 6.

As seen in FIGS. 3 and 5, the base of handle 22 is closed by an end wall 48. Also, the sides of handle 22 are grovved in a continuation of groove which surrounds frame I4 to protect the racket strings against abrasion should the playing surface be struck during play. Groove 30 serves to reduce the weight of handle 22 while retaining strength and stiffness. The upper and lower surfaces of handle 22 include a depression or recess 48 sized to receive the handle portion of facing 12. When bonded in place, facing 12 covers and hides the truss arrangement produced by the array of pockets and 42.

As seen in the lower portion of FIG. 3, a depression or hole 36 is formed to receive a locating pin or pallets 20, as further described below.

Moving up the handle as seen in FIG. 3, the pattern of pockets changes in throat area 28 to a pattern around frame 14 which accommodates stringing holes. As shown in section in FIG. 7, which illustrates the transition between throat 28 and frame 14, pockets 52 in the upper face of frame I4 and pockets 54 in the lower face of frame 14 alternate around the frame to produce a truss-like web between adjacent pockets. Web 55 is the final handle web before the frame pocket pattern develops. A transverse thickened portion 56 is formed in each inter-pocket web through which a stringing hole 58 may be formed. The stringing holes 58 may either be produced during the molding operation by removable pins positioned in the mold, or may be drilled after molding of the shell. This arrangement in which stringing holes 58 penetrate through solid portions of shell 14 is highly desirable both from a strength standpoint and because only two apertures need be deburred or smoothed to prevent abrading the string. If the holes penetrated through a pocketed area, there would be four surface apertures to be smoothed.

A transverse section through shell 14 is seen in FIG. 8. The frame faces are preferably recessed, with up standing edges 60, so that when facing 12 is bonded in place the outer facing surface will blend smoothly into edge 60. As described below, the facing is preferably grooved in the frame area, producing a broad shaped crosssection. A ridge 62 is provided around frame 14 to fit precisely within the facing groove, assuring excellent bonding between facing 12 and shell 14. As discussed above, a string-protecting groove 30 is provided in the outer edge of frame 14. Also, a groove 64 of generally semicircular cross-section is provided in the inner edge of frame 14 to reduce weight while re taining maximum strength.

FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate a pair of raised areas 66 within groove 30 adjacent to racket throat 28. In the groove area. the angle between the string as it lies within groove 30 between string holes 58 and the string as it lies with holes 58 in this area is an acute angle. This sharp angle as the string changes direction upon entering holes 58 has been found to damage the string. Raised areas 66, properly positioned within groove 30, relieve these severe localized stresses.

Details of the facing members 12 can be seen in FIGS. 11 and 12. The facing generally consists of a frame portion 68, a throat portion 69, and a handle portion 70. Handle portion may have a constant cross-section, or may taper in thickness and/or width to vary the stiffness characteristics of the completed racket handle. As seen in section in FIG. 13, frame portion 68 has a broad U -shaped cross-section, with raised edges 72 bounding a central groove 74. Ordinarily the thickness of the facing material in the area of groove 74 is about one-half the thickness of the facing in the handle portion 70. It has been found that the raised edges 72 add greatly to the strength of the facing and racket frame 14 without adding appreciably to the weight of the racket. Typically, the facing may be about 0.070 to 0.090 inch thick in the handle 70 portion, with raised edges 72 and groove 74having thicknesses in the range of about 0. l 10 to 0.l 30 inch and about 0.025 to 0.055 inch, respectively. Handle 70 typically may have a width in the range of from about 0.90 to 1.10 inches. The width of the facing in frame portion 68 may typically range from about 0.45 to about 0.65 inch.

Strength and stiffness in the frame area are especially important, since forces in the plane of frame 14 must be resisted during stringing, and ball impact forces in a direction substantially perpendicular to the plane of frame 14 must be resisted during play. As discussed above, groove 74 and raised edges 72 mesh with ridge 62 on shell 10 when facing 12 is bonded to shell [0.

Facing 12 consists essentially of high Young's modulus fibers in a resin matrix. As discussed above, highstrength graphite fibers are preferred, although other similar fibers may be used in at least portions of the facing to vary the physical characteristics thereof.

It is ordinarily preferred to have most of the facing fibers in the form of continuous substantially parallel fibers running up handle 70, around frame 68 and back down handle 70. As described above, for best results, it is strongly preferred to have at least two layers of fiber cloth with the fiber orientation substantially transverse to the orientation of the fibers in the facing body. Preferably, this is accomplished as illustrated in FIGS. 13 and 14, by first forming fibers in resin impregnated tow form to produce the body 73 of the facing 12. In the preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 13 and 14, the body 73 has a generally U -shaped configuration in the frame 68 area and a generally rectangular configuration 76 in the handle 70 area. In throat 69, the inner leg of the U continues around the frame while the outer leg tapers down to the rectangular form. Of course, if the face of shell 10 were flat. the entire inner surface of facing l2 could be similarly flat. At least two, and preferably four, layers of fiber cloth are preferably arranged on one side of body 73 with fibers running transverse to the fibers in body 73. Each cloth layer preferably consists ofa single layer l l percent warp) of parallel contiguous resin impregnated fibers. With the handle 70 assumed to lie along the 0 orientation. it is preferred that in the frame area 68 the first ply 7S and the second ply 79 have a 90" orientation and. similarly, the third ply 77 and fourth ply 81 have a 90 orientation. Any other suitable orientation may be used. although for best results alternate plies should be oriented at least 45 to each other,

While optimum performance has been obtained with these four 90 plies around frame 68, it has been found that the orientation of the ov'erlayers should be different in throat 69 and handle 70. As seen in the cut-away portion of FIG. 15, first ply 75 and third ply 77, which are at 0, may continue down through throat 69 and handle 70. The fine lines in FIG. illustrate fiber orientation. rather than hatching. However, second ply 79 and fourth play 8], which were at 90 in frame portion 68, should change to an angle between 0 and 90. preferably between 30 and 60. As illustrated, ply 79 becomes ply 83 and ply 81 becomes ply 85. Excellent results have been attained where second ply 83 is at +30 and fourth ply 85 is at 30 in most of throat 69 and all of handle 70. The lines at which these plies change over from 90 to :30 should be staggered slightly as shown in PK]. 15.

More or fewer transverse fiber layers may be used, so lone as succeeding layers in frame 68 are at least 45 to each other and so long as the fiber layers in lower throat 69 or handle 70 are at least 30 to each other and no more than 60 to the centerline of handle 70.

if desired, as mentioned above, fibers of different composition may be used in different parts of facing 12 to vary its physical characteristics. For example, boron fibers might be used in place of some of the graphite fibers in handle 70 to increase its stiffness, or some glass or PRD49 fibers could be used in body 73 to vary the stiffness of frame 68.

Details of the handle pallets are shown in FIGS. 16, 17, and 18. FIGv 16 shows the side of pallet 20 which fits against shell handle 22. The outer surface configuration of pallet 20 can be seen in FIG. 2. When installed, pallets 20 substantially surround handle portion 22. Ribs 80 add strength and rigidity to the pallets and rest on the surface of handle 22. Rib 82 includes an outwardly extending pin 34 which engages hole 36 in handle 22 to locate the pallet in the desired position. If desired, pallets 20 may be adhesively bonded to handle 22, though this is not always necessary. After pallets 20 are fitted in place, a winding of thin leather or the like is applied to give a desired gripping surface, as shown in FIG. 1. The racket is then ready for stringing and use.

While the method of manufacturing these rackets has been described in general terms, a preferred embodiment of this method is provided in the following example.

EXAMPLE A mold is prepared for the racket shell 10 in the configuration described above and shown in the drawing. An injection molding material comprising Lexan polycarbonate resin, available from General Electric, filled with l0 percent chopped glass fibers is prepared and injected into the mold. After completion of the molding operation, 0.l36-inch diameter holes 58 are drilled through thickened areas 56 to receive the racket strings. Although typical strings are only about 0.05 inch in diameter, the larger sized hole is used in order to accommodate double strings either as part of the basic stringing arrangement or to allow for repairs.

A pair of facing members 12 is prepared by compression molding. Material for the facing bodies is a Type A graphite filament preimpregnated with an epoxy resin, available from the Fiberite Company under the X505 designation. This material is in the form of continuous tows about 57 inches long. Successive tows are laid up in a pre-compaction die and overlaid with four plies of graphite fibers (available from Union Carbide Corporation) oriented at 0, 0 and 90. The layup is then placed in the facing forming die, compacted at about 50 psi and cured at about 250F for about 30 minutes. After minor cleanup and removal oftlash, the facings are ready for installation on the shell. The transverse layers become an integral part of the facing and provide crosstension strength to the laminate.

The surfaces of the shell and facing are prepared for bonding with a light sandblast and a liquid Freon (a fluorocarbon liquid available from E. E. duPont de Nemours & Co.) wipe just prior to bonding to insure a good tooth and a clean interface. The facings are bonded to the shell with an epoxy resin, Epoxy 934, available from the Hysol Chemical Co. About l0 psi mechanical pressure is applied during bonding. Excess adhesive which may squeeze out is removed immediately.

After the facing adhesive is cured, the racket is inspected, tested, any desired decals are applied and a urethane resin finish coat is applied. The coating is dried at about l20F for about 8 hours to drive off all volatiles.

A pair of pallets 20 as shown in the drawing are injection molded from Cycolac resin, an acrylonitrilebutadiene-styrene resin available from the Morbon Chemical Division of the Borg-Warner Corporation. The pallets are bonded to the racket with conventional contact cement. The pallets are coated with a grip adhesive, Inco No. from the lntercoastal Corp. The leather grip material is installed over the pallets, after which the grip adhesive is activated by applying a solvent through the leather covering.

Finally, any desired labels or identification symbols are applied and the racket is strung in a conventional manner. The racket is found to have excellent playing characteristics and durability.

While certain specific materials, arrangements and conditions are specified in the above description of a preferred embodiment, these may be varies or other materials of steps added where suitable, with similar results as described above. For example, fibers of different characteristics may be added to different facing areas to modify racket characteristics as desired, or more or fewer fiber cloth layers may be used in different facing areas to vary strength and stiffness characteristics.

Other modifications and ramifications of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the present disclosure, These are ltltended to be included within the scope of this invention, as defined in the appended claims.

Weclaim: y y

l. A reinforcing facing for a game racket, adapted to be bonded to the face of a racket shell; said facing having a closed loop frame area, a throat area and an elonarea, all of'said head frame, throat and handle area lying substantially along a single plane; said facing comprising: l

a body portion having the configuration of said facing and having a first surface of predetermined configuration adapted to engage a correspondingly shaped. surface of the racket face to which the facing is to be bonded;

said body portion having a substantially U -shaped cross-section configuration in the frame area of said facing, modified through the throat area to a substantially rectangular cross-section in the handle area;

said body portion comprising a plurality of substantially parallel high Young's modulus fibers in a synthetic resin matrix;

said fibers in said body portion comprising a continuous tow extending up through the handle area, through the throat area, aroung the frame area, back through the throat area and back down the handle area;

at least one layer of cloth made up of high Youngs modulus fibers in a synthetic resin matrix bonded to a second surface of said body portion opposite to said first surface;

said cloth having from to about 50 percent woof fibers and from 50 to I00 percent warp fibers.

2. The facing according to claim 1 wherein each layer of said cloth comprises a substantially single layer of substantially parallel contiguous fibers.

3. The facing according to claim 2 wherein at least two of said fiber cloth layers are bonded to said body portion, the fibers in each of said layers oriented at an angle of at least about 45 to the fibers in the next adjacent layer in the frame area and at an angle of at least about 30 to the fibers in the next adjacent layer in the handle area, the fibers in all cloth layers in the handle area lying at angles of no more than about 60 to the centerline of the handle, where the 0 line is substantially the handle centerline.

4. The facing according to claim 2 wherein four of said cloth layers are bonded to said body portion, the fibers in succeeding layers in the frame and upper throat portion being oriented at angles of about 0, 90, 0 and 90, and in the lower throat and handle portion being oriented at angles of about 0, +30, 0, and 30, where the handle centerline is the 0 line.

5. The facing according to claim 1 wherein said cloth comprises about 50 percent warp and about 50 percent woof fibers woven with warp and woof at an angle of substantially 90 to each other.

6. The facing according to claim 1 wherin the fibers in said body portion and said cloth layers have a Youngs modulus of from about X 10 to about 80 X 10 psi and a density of from about 0.05 to about 0.09 lb/in and are selected from the group consisting of graphite, boron, high-strength synthetic resins and mixtures thereof.

elongated handle area extending away from said throat area, all of said head frame. throat and handle areas lying substantially along a single plane. said facing comprising:

a body portion having a first surface of predetermined configuration adapted to engage a correspondingly shaped surface of a racket comprising substantially parallel high Youngs modulus fibers embedded in a synthetic resin;

said fibers in said body portion extending up through said handle area, through said throat area, around said frame area, back through the throat area and back down through the handle area;

four layers of high Young's modulus fibers impregnated with a synthetic resin, each layer comprising a substantially single layer of substantially parallel contiguous fibers;

said four stacked fiber layers bonded to said body portion to form a unitary facing, the fibers in succeeding layers in the frame and upper throat portions being oriented at angles of 0, 90, 0 and 90, and in the lower throat and handle portions being oriented at angles of 0, +30, 0 and -30, to the handle centerline where the 0 line lies substantially along the handle centerlinev 9. The facing according to claim 8 wherein said facing body has a substantially U -shaped cross-section configuration in the frame area of said facing, modified through the throat area of said facing to a substantially rectangular cross-section configuration in the handle area of said facing.

10. The facing according to claim 8 wherein said fibers comprise graphite fibers having a Youngs modulus of from about 20 X 10 to about X 10 psi.

11. The facing according to claim 8 wherein said resins are selected from the group consisting of epoxy, polyimide, polyester and phenolic resins.

12. A reinforcing facing having a closed loop frame area, a throat area, and an elongated handle area extending away from said throat area, all of said head frame, throat and handle areas lying substantially along a single plane; said facing comprising:

a body portion having a first surface of predetermined configuration adapted to engage a correspondingly shaped surface of a racket comprising a plurality of substantially continuous, substantially parallel graphite fibers having a Youngs modulus of from about 20 X 10 to about 80 X 10 psi impregnated with a synthetic resin;

said body portion fibers extending substantially continuously up through the handle area, through the throat area, around the frame area, back through the throat area and back down the handle;

at least two layers of graphite fibers having a Youngs moudulus offrom about 20 X 10 to about 80 X 10 psi, each layer comprising a substantially single layer of substantially parallel fibers impregnated with a synthetic resin;

the fibers in adjacent layers in the frame area oriented at an angle of at least about 45 to each other and in the handle area at an angle of at least about 30 to each other. but not more than about 60 to 14. The facing according to claim l3 wherein said the handle centerline, where the line lies subresins are selected from the group consisting of epoxy. stantially along the handle centerline. and polyimide pnlyester d phenolic resins.

Said at east two fibers layers and Q pmtio 15. The facing according to claim l3 wherein four of bonded together to form a umtary facing of fibers 5 said fiber layers are bonded to said fiber body, the fiembedded m a hardened synthetic resm mamx' bers in succeeding layers in the frame and upper throat 13. The facing according to claim 12 wherein said o a o o facing body has a substantially U -shaped cross-section f" bemg or'emed at angles of 0 Q 0 and m the lower throat and handle portion being onconfiguration in the frame area of said facing, modified o a a 0 through the throat area of said facing to a substantially m tinted at lmgIeS 0f 1 0 and 0 lhC handle rectangular cross-section configuration in the handle e rlmflarea ofsaid facing. t

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification473/535, 273/DIG.230
International ClassificationA63B49/08, A63B49/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2049/0205, A63B49/08, Y10S273/23, A63B49/02
European ClassificationA63B49/02, A63B49/08