Original Article

Sports Engineering

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 87-98

Comparison of a finite element model of a tennis racket to experimental data

  • Tom AllenAffiliated withFaculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sports Engineering Research Group, Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University Email author 
  • , Steve HaakeAffiliated withFaculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sports Engineering Research Group, Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University
  • , Simon GoodwillAffiliated withFaculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sports Engineering Research Group, Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University

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Abstract

Modern tennis rackets are manufactured from composite materials with high stiffness-to-weight ratios. In this paper, a finite element (FE) model was constructed to simulate an impact of a tennis ball on a freely suspended racket. The FE model was in good agreement with experimental data collected in a laboratory. The model showed racket stiffness to have no influence on the rebound characteristics of the ball, when simulating oblique spinning impacts at the geometric stringbed centre. The rebound velocity and topspin of the ball increased with the resultant impact velocity. It is likely that the maximum speed at which a player can swing a racket will increase as the moment of inertia (swingweight) decreases. Therefore, a player has the capacity to hit the ball faster, and with more topspin, when using a racket with a low swingweight.

Keywords

Ball Finite element High-speed video Impact Racket Spin Tennis