Nowadays table tennis racket manufacturers use a large variety of blades to solicit customers. Only the categories could be divided as the following:
Table Tennis Racket Categories
Blade woods: paulownia, cypress, ebony, rosewood… etc.
Fibers mixed: carbon, titanium, aluminum, glass, arylate… etc.
Structures: 5 layers, 7 layers, nano, hollow tube inner layer… etc.
Processing technologies: “carbon burning,” “thermic burn” of 200 degrees Celsius… etc.;
Function indicators: control, hardness, centre of gravity deviation, bounce… etc.
In addition, there are different types of handle forms and structures, blade shapes… etc.
With so many choices and combinations, I as a senior user even got dizzy already, not to mention those beginner parents and teenagers.
According to the rules of the ITTF, a table tennis racket must contain at least 85% of natural wood. In the past, all the world class players used pure wood blades. Until 2000, the ball diameter increased from 38mm to 40mm, leading to an apparent decrease of spin and speed. In order to strengthen the power, those blades mixed with compound fibers began to rise.
(Image courtesy of kurafire at Flickr.com)
Features of Carbon Blades
Carbon is the most common fiber, in the past widely used in military industry such as national defense and aviation. Its physical properties, like hardness and bounce, are comparable with metals. At the moment the ball hits the blade, its vibration extent at the initial stage is smaller than it is of other metals, causing the ball staying on the blade shorter. It gives the player a clearer and crisper hand feeling.
The table tennis rackets made from carbon fiber have less weight, stronger bounce, flatter arc and faster speed. The time of the ball leaving the blade is quicker. However, the disadvantage of the carbon rackets is that it has a stronger hand feeling of trembling and scattered. It is because the carbon fiber has a slower attenuation time. In other words, it needs a longer time returning to stationary from vibration. The control feeling is inferior to that of pure wood rackets. Therefore, rackets mixed with some other materials, such as arylate, have come out.
Best Choice of Beginners
It is unnecessary for beginner parents and children to worry about their table tennis rackets too much. The best choice of them is a pure wood racket with lighter weight. Beginners cannot feel the differences among the above mentioned racket features. They better master those basic techniques first and then upgrade to some other higher priced rackets. It not only saves money, and also avoids those rackets with too much bouncing power to hinder their foster of hand feeling.