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11-11-2013 | The Science Behind Your Football

The Science Behind Your Football- AptoSports


Whether you are looking for a match ball or soft touch football, it is important to choose a football made from materials that are best suited to your needs. As with anything top quality materials cost more, but it is worth investing in a high quality football that will last a long time rather than replacing cheap ones every couple of months.

The casing of the football is the outer layer which makes contact with the foot; this is usually made up of a series of pentagonal panels. Rather than leather which was used in the past, most match balls are now cased in a synthetic material. Typically, footballs are either made out of premature ventricular contraction (PVC), Polyurethane (PU) or Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU). 

PVC is the cheaper option which does not scuff as easily as PU, however it is less durable and is often used for cheaper training balls. Although PU is slightly more expensive, it is more widely used in top quality footballs. It is softer to the touch than PVC and more closely resembles leather. Footballs with a thicker layer of PU tend to be livelier, giving better flight and ball control. TPU on the other hand, is a material of higher quality than PVC but without the PU price tag. TPU offers exceptional control, elasticity and resistance making it the ideal choice for any soft touch ball.

Some footballs are made out of a blend of PVC and PU also. This means some of the qualities of a PU football can be obtained for a slightly lower price. If you are looking for a high quality match ball with the best playing features, PU is the way to go. Although it can scuff easier, it can simply be coated in a protective gloss to reduce wear and tear and shield the ball against water and weather damage.

Foam is a material that is often used in the outer casing of match balls. If it is used as a separate layer underneath the outer casing, however, it can cause the football to warp and lose its shape. For foam to be an effective material it should be integrated with the outer layer material.

Underneath the casing layer is the lining of the football. Nearly all match balls are lined with polyester; the difference is in the amount used. Match balls have to fit in certain weight restrictions, therefore the amount of polyester will depend on the weight of other materials tha are used. 

The bladder is the internal part of the football, the layer that is filled with air. They cause the ball to bounce and affect other playing qualities such as balance. The bladders of most match balls are either filled with a synthetic material called butyl or latex, a natural material that is sourced from trees. Butyl hardly lets any air out which means the ball stays pumped up for longer. With butyl balls you won’t need to pump them up after every training session, saving time and effort. Latex, on the other hand, often praised for retaining its shape has to be pumped up a lot more frequently – sometimes as often as every week. When you are playing in that all-important match, the effects of a football losing air and deflating can have a negative impact on the game, so butyl bladders are recommended for match balls.

At Apto Sports we are dedicated to providing you with the best match balls and soft touch balls on the market. All our match balls are cased with top quality PU and our soft touch footballs with TPU due to the elasticity and control of the material. The bladders of all our footballs are made from butyl, with high levels of air retention. Next time you need to upgrade your clubs equipment, remember to consider the science behind your football!


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