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Shaft losing stiffness over time / with use.

Discussion in 'Badminton Rackets / Equipment' started by DuckFeet, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. DuckFeet

    DuckFeet Regular Member

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    Sup. How much does a racquet shaft change over time? I don't expect an MX80 would eventually turn into an MX60 but I read that it does soften with use. I know it depends on so many factors so just asking for examples / rough guide. Cheers.
     
  2. dbswansea

    dbswansea Regular Member

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    Apparently shaft stiffness becomes a problem as things get older.
     
  3. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Just pay a visit to your doctor, he has a pill to fix it. ;)
     
  4. dbswansea

    dbswansea Regular Member

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    I was just trying to reassure Sam that it's ok :)
     
  5. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    It's not OK if his significant other complains of problems with shaft stiffness. :p
     
  6. DuckFeet

    DuckFeet Regular Member

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    I have had no such complaints! I just don't want it to go soft from playing with it too much. I've noticed the shaft is longer since I got my new sword.

    Another duckfeet thread into the gutter...

    Now I'm definitely not posting a pic of my exposed shaft on my broken handle.
     
  7. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Lol... But back to topic, like I mentioned before, even if the carbon doesn't soften, the resin does over time and after repetitive bending cycles. But we're talking about many many hours.
     
  8. thekong

    thekong Regular Member

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    Actually, my experience is the reverse, the shaft soften a bit in the first 10-20 hours of play, and then somewhat stabilize.

    My experience is mainly from the VTZF. When it was introduced, there were some comment about the shaft softened slightly after play. So, when re-string mine for the first time, after about 20 hours of play, I compared it with fresh samples in the dealer by hand bending the rackets. My used one did feel slightly more flexi than the fresh ones.

    I have been using it for nearly 2 years now, and it doesn't seem to soften any further!
     
  9. Naim.F.C

    Naim.F.C Regular Member

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    Scientifically, based on studies that have been conducted on such materials, realistically what you described is what should happen. After a set in period it should have a permanent level of flex or stiffness. Apparently such materials won't soften over time due to having a natural degree of flexibility. I made a post regarding this here.

    http://www.badmintonforum.com/vb/sh...-new-racquet?p=2187374&viewfull=1#post2187374

    People may find rackets seem less stiff simply because they are getting stronger. I personally have several rackets that are very old and don't feel any different to me except after I become more accustomed to head heavy rackets, and then switch back to them randomly.
     
  10. DuckFeet

    DuckFeet Regular Member

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    Good post. Thanks Naim.
     
  11. Maklike Tier

    Maklike Tier Regular Member

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    If you flex most materials (Aluminium being the exception) under it's yield point, it can in theory be flexed in the same way forever without any degradation to it's performance.

    I haven't tested it, but I suspect that the fatigue life of your standard badminton racket is pretty ridiculously high. Remember, you're only hitting a shuttlecock and most of the stress is attenuated by the strings, and most of the bending of the shaft at least is - I would suspect - not even vaguely close to it's yield point.

    In theory the resin could degrade under UV, but we're seeing 20+ year old carbon fiber bicycles not exhibiting these problems so I think it's safe to say it's a non-issue for badminton rackets.

    So basically....no. Your racket is not getting softer, it wasn't softer for the first 20 hours and now it's stable - it is what it is and it will stay that way decades after you've got bored with it.
     
  12. thekong

    thekong Regular Member

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    Again, my experience is different! I have 4 VTZF, 2 regular SP (3UG5), 2 Olympic Edition (1 SP 3UG4, 1 JP 4UG5). One of the regular SP I play often, and the rest 3 never been strung or play!

    Because of this thread, I pull them all out to check last night, the one I play with often is slightly, but noticeably, more flexi than the other 3, which are quite consistent among themselves!

     
  13. Naim.F.C

    Naim.F.C Regular Member

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    Could it just be placebo or your conditioning on the day? Personally all my rackets feel the same as when I first bought them, as mentioned, even my older ones from what I can remember anyway. It's so very hard if not impossible to gauge these things if you're not doing it scientifically.

    As the links I posted above show, realistically there should be no change as carbon has natural flexibility. Maybe that initial period you speak of is actually the softness of the initial grip? It does harden (due to material compression) and flatten the longer you play, so that could be it. But I'm just theorising. No idea without real data.
     
  14. thekong

    thekong Regular Member

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    Well, I really didn't have any scientific way to test it! Since the 3 were never strung, of course I couldn't play with them either. So, I just bent them by hand to test, but the one I play with often does feel slightly flexier!

    Yes, I understand hand bending test may not directly translate to the way it plays, but now we are just talking about the stiffness of the shaft, not the way it plays!

    Actually, I am not the first one to say so, if you check back on the posts right after the initial introduction of the VTZF, a number of users commented that the shaft gone flexier after a short time of play! Placebo effect? Maybe, but I kind of doubt it!
     
  15. Maklike Tier

    Maklike Tier Regular Member

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    Everything has a manufactured tolerance, so any difference in stiffness you feel could simply be that tolerance, too.

    There's so many things in could be, anecdotally...it's just that you fatiguing the racket out after a couple of years is at the bottom of the list.
     
  16. bos_dc2

    bos_dc2 Regular Member

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    Maybe it's a mental thing lol
     
  17. Ch1k0

    Ch1k0 Regular Member

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    Maybe it is a mental thing but to men it is a real physical difference that I can feel both while in play and just doing a static bend test.

    If I didn't break any of my BS 12s (both blue and gray ones) I estimate I actually have to buy a new one minimally every year even if I play on average twice a week.

    The last time I had any surviving BS 12/12Ns that I had used for at least 8months to a year and I got a brand new one which felt noticeably stiffer even after playing with the latest one for a month. I actually had to put my BS 12 KRP into retirement because it was giving me shoulder pains by being too flexible.

    Kept trying to force power out of it and it bit me in the ass and I had to switch to stiffer pieces like the JJS just to not make things worse.
     
  18. jazzhands

    jazzhands Regular Member

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    From what I gather (not exactly badminton specific), the resin that holds the carbon together definitely degrades over time for numerous reasons, such as UV exposure or fatigue. As a consequence, the woven sheet of carbon fibre essentially breaks and unravels a few strands at a time. The same happens to unidirectional fibre, but it obviously can't unravel. This ultimately results in a loss of stiffness.

    In regards to badminton specifically: personally, I'm not entirely convinced this loss of stiffness is actually perceptible, especially over a short timespan (a couple of years or less).

    - at least badminton is an indoor sport so we don't have to worry about the UV rays turning our rackets into noodles :D
     
  19. Maklike Tier

    Maklike Tier Regular Member

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    This is all true, but a badminton racket used a couple of times a week for a few hours indoors isn't even close to reaching this point.

    Anecdotally, manufacturers do have testing facilities where they cycle rackets through a simulated and condensed lifecycle, and seeing that we're not seeing a rash of problems (not to mention decade old rackets play just fine) suggests that fatigue is a non-issue.

    People also have to realise that carbon rackets aren't 'glued' together like a couple of pieces of wood. It's a highly evolved process, done under not only heat but also in a vacuum.
     
  20. DuckFeet

    DuckFeet Regular Member

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    So I don't need to worry that my bs10 might actually be playing like a bs09 and skewing my idea of what stiffness suits me.

    That also applies to a vt5 I had, I thought it must have been well and truly broken in as it didn't feel like medium flex at all.
     

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