NASA Spinoff Database: Damping Goes the Distance in Golf

NASA Center: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Public Release Year: 2004
Reference Number: JPL-SO-166
Category: Consumer/Home/Recreation
Origin: Star Wars Program

In the late 1980s, Dr. Benjamin Dolgin of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a concept for a high-damping graphite/viscoelastic material for the Strategic Defense Initiative. Dolgin drummed up this concept with the intention of stabilizing weapons launch platforms in space, where there is no solid ground to firmly support these structures. His proposal for a high-damping graphite/viscoelastic material actually lay dormant for nearly 5 years after he conceived it, until it became the topic of doctoral studies for Dr. William Pratt, a Brigham Young University scholar. Pratt took the concept to the next level and discovered a practical method for manufacturing wavy" graphite composite technology to dampen or restrain structural vibration. He received an exclusive license to use the NASA concept invented by Dolgin for commercial manufacturing of graphite composite products. Pratt created a progressive golf shaft that is helping golfers to hit the "long ball" even longer. The "Wave Shaft" golf shaft employs a viscoelastic layer sandwiched in between two opposing wavy-patterned graphite layers to create unparalleled stiffness and damping. The structure of the Star Wars-influenced shaft is as stiff as steel but with thousands of times the damping which results in less shock and vibration during a swing."

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Page Number in Published book: 45-46
Manufacturer: New Revolution Golf

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