In 2003, when U.K. scientists created the first batch of graphene – a lightweight, flexible lattice of carbon atoms that’s hundreds of times more durable than steel – they probably didn’t imagine their Nobel Prize–winning wonder material debuting on a tennis court. But the first mainstream product to make use of the stronger, lighter stuff is Head’s YouTek Graphene line of tennis racquets. By using the material to reinforce the shaft, designers can add more mass to the handle and head, creating a court killer that is pristinely balanced but also incredibly powerful. “We can produce racquets that have the power level of the best players on the tour, but more people can effectively swing them,” says Roger Petersman, Head’s Tennis Category Manager. The next wave of graphene-reinforced gear will come in cycling tires, skis, smartphones, bulletproof vests, water-desalinization systems, and hundreds of other applications.
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