BIG RALPH'S Sportin' Stuff

Alright meatheads! Thought this polymer stuff was just for the wimps, didn't you? Well there's plenty of stuff here at Sportin' Stuff made from polymers, stuff that helps you play harder, faster, and stronger. Take a look, and you'll learn that without polymers you'd be just another bench warmer!

Basketball image

This basketball has an outer cover made from leather, a natural product polymer. To help it hold air it has an inner liner made from a kind of rubber called polyisobutylene.

Baseball Glove

Baseball gloves are also made of leather, and that leather is stitched together with thread made from polymeric fibers, such as cotton, nylon, and polyesters.

Tennis Racket

The frame of this tennis racket is made from an especially strong polymer called carbon fiber, and its strings are made of nylon. And of course, you couldn't grasp it without the leather which wraps the handle.

An ordinary athletic shoe has many parts made from polymers. The sole is made from a block copolymer called poly(styrene-butadiene-styrene). Cushioning is made from natural rubber and polyurethane. Leather and nylon are used in the panels, and the laces can be made from cotton.

Recognize these? These shorts Kelly is holding are the ones that high school coaches wear to support their beer guts. They are made of a polyester called poly(ethylene terephthalate).


Many polymers are found in this simple baseball. The outer
cover is made of leather, stitched together with cotton thread.
The inside contains more cotton, as well as natural rubber.

Sports Jacket This warm-up jacket is made entirely of nylon fibers.

Biking shorts like these are made of fibers of an interesting block co-polymer called spandex, which allows the pants to stretch.

Most of the outer parts of roller blades are made of polyethylene.

The cover of a golf ball is often made of Surlyn. This is a kind of material we call an ionomer and a thermoplastic elastomer.

And golf balls aren't much good without golf clubs. Rodney here is practicing his swing with a driver with a shaft made of carbon fiber, and a head made of wood, which is made of cellulose.

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