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  1. azlan is offline
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    #1

    Sponge on rubbers

    I have a question which was asked by one of my mates that I could not answer. So, I'm wondering if you guys can give me your opinion.

    As you all know, the sponges that comes at the back of the rubbers (inverted & pips) have different properties. Some have higher density, harder and some are softer. These sponges are then attached to hard and soft rubbers.
    For example, if the rubbers are soft, so do they have :
    1. softer rubbers with medium sponge or do they have
    2. medium rubbers with softer sponge, or do they have
    3. soft sponge and rubbers?
    And, does the colour of the sponges make any difference to the properties of the whole rubber, or is it just the manufacturers' preference.

    I know these are all very technical stuff, but any views and opinions are most welcome and greatly appreciated. Thanx guys.
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    #2
    A very nice question. I had thought about this aswell
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    #3
    I know! I know!
    But.. I am going to school now (extras and tests on Saturday due to national exam)..

    I will write here right away if I could
    GFoT |Blade : Timo Boll ALC • FH : DHS Hurricane 3 Provincial MAX • BH : Tenergy 64 MAX
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  4. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #4
    Okay, let me see if I can give some info.

    I will use Sriver as an example. Regular Sriver has the same topsheet as Sriver FX but the sponge on FX is softer. So the hardness of the topsheet does not always change with the hardness of the sponge.

    On rubbers like DHS there is a thought that the red rubbers are not quite as good as the Black rubbers. From a technical standpoint the color of the topsheet should not change the quality of the rubber because the only difference should be the color of the dye used. However, it is possible that the red topsheets for DHS are made slightly differently for one reason or another so that the Black ones do in fact work better. I have felt no real difference between red and black myself. But....

    Color of the sponge. So, from a technical standpoint the color of the sponge should also only reflect the use of a different dye on the sponge. An orange sponge = orange dye; a blue sponge = blue dye. However, a company like DHS, I believe, actually uses a different sponge and a different quality of sponge, when they use the blue sponge with a Hurricane or Skyline topsheet. I will use Butterfly rubbers as an example again. Sriver, Bryce and Tenergy all have different sponges just like they have different topsheets. Lets say that they decided to have 3 versions of a new Rubber. The Lets call this new Rubber, SBT (Sriver, Bryce, Tenergy). So lets say there is the "Commercial" version of SBT and it has the Tenergy topsheet and the Sriver Sponge; lets also say that they choose to dye this sponge yellow. Then there is the "Provincial" version of SBT and they use the same Tenergy topsheet, but they use the Bryce Sponge; Lets say they choose to dye the sponge on this one Orange. Then there is the top of the line version the "National Team" version of SBT: Lets say it uses the Tenergy Spring Sponge and they choose to dye the Spring Sponge Blue.

    So in the scenario above, the different colored dye does not actually change anything. The actual determining factor of whether the sponge is better is the kind of sponge used. But the company has decided to use a different color dye to make the differentiation between the different sponges visible. Does that make sense?

    Lets look at Tenergy 05, 64 and 25 for a moment to examine another issue. The Spring Sponge on all three Tenergy rubbers is the same. The topsheet on all three Tenergy rubbers is--brief pause for dramatic effect--THE SAME. I know, many people will not get this or believe this, but it is true. The topsheet itself is exactly the same on all three. So what makes the three so different, and they are different. THE SIZE OF THE PIMPLES. Even though the pimples face in, the size of the pimples is what gives each of these three rubbers different playing characteristics. Tenergy 05 has the smallest pimples which means they have the highest degree of deformation which makes 05 the slowest and spinniest of the three. 64's pimples are about half way between the size of 05 and 25 so 64 has more spin than 25 and less speed; but it has more speed than 05 and less spin. 25, having the largest pimples feels the hardest and fastest. And, because the pimples are soooo large, even though they are facing in, they allow the least deformation of the rubber and give the hardest feeling, the most speed and the least spin. Still they are more than spinny enough and you get more than good enough control from them.

    I cannot think of any rubbers where the sponge stays the same hardness while they have versions with softer or harder topsheets, but Tenergy is the closest example to this. With Tenergy, Sriver and Bryce, the black topsheet and the red topsheet play the same. The info on the DHS topsheets not playing the same might come from the fact that so many of the players on the Chinese National Team use Black DHS rubbers for the forehand and their red rubbers are a different brand, often Tenergy, for the backhand.

    The Club I used to play at NYTTF (which closed down in November which is why I cannot play there any more) would only sell black DHS rubbers and would not stock the red ones. But, again, I cannot honestly tell if there is a real difference between the red and the black, in part because every single DHS rubber I have used plays slightly differently. So I think it is just as possible that the issue has to do with quality control in Chinese products.

    I have to be honest, I don't really know the answers but those are educated guesses about things like the blue sponge on the DHS Hurricane and Skyline that the players on the Chinese National Team seem to use, and on how different hardness of sponge and topsheets might combine.
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    #5
    Thanx Carl...those are very good explanations. I forgot to include the size and density of the pips, but you're kind enough to include it. Very helpful....
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    #6
    Many professional players like a hard sponge on FH with a very supple topsheet. My FH preferences are similar, eg: Tibhar Aurus and Stiga Calibra LT. Some like it softer on BH to get that "forgiveness" to complete sucessful BH loops. It comes down to a matter of personal preference and there are a gazillion combinations. Topsheet thickness and pip arrangement come into play big-time as well. Also the property of the sponge to rebound and ctapult the ball is important and feel can also be an individual judgement.
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  7. Matt Hetherington is offline
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    #7
    hmm interesting subject area. Tibhar used to colour coordinate their sponges to rubber and sponge densities, at least for nimbus anyway. I always found the lighter the sponge was, the softer it was. If the sponge is darker then it is more firm, so black sponge is the hardest, dark blue etc and white, light yellow sponge is softer? Just what i noted from experience I may be wrong
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  8. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #8
    Hey Azlan, I thought you would be interested in this info. It is info on the differences between Xiom Omega IV -- Asia, Europe, Elite and Pro versions. It comes from this site:

    http://www.mytabletennis.com/shop/ru...ro-rubber.html

    "- Omega IV series can be divided into two categories, one is standard version, and the other is extreme version.

    - Omega IV Asia, Europe and Elite are standard versions. These three have the same top layer which is quite soft. The difference is in sponge. Asia has hard sponge, Europe has medium sponge, and Elite has soft sponge. Omega IV Asia is for professional players who likes hard feeling but demand strong and stable topspin at the same time. Omega IV Europe is for every players who want the optimum rubber for balanced all-round play. Omega IV Elite is for players who like maximum sound and maximum stability.

    - The extreme version is Omega IV Pro. Players may feel that the top layer of Omega IV Pro is quite hard. The sponge of Omega IV Pro is slightly softer than that of Omega IV Asia. The mixture of harder top layer and softer sponge produces completely different characteristics."

    So for Asia, Europe and Elite the topsheet is the same but the sponge is different: hard medium, soft. For Pro the topsheet is harder and the sponge is between the hardness of Asia and Europe but closer to Asia.

    The pimple structure on the topsheet is the same as the Vega Pro, but the sponge is different and the topsheet may or may not be different.

    Interesting how Tenergy changes effect by changing pimples and Omega IV changes effect and feeling by changing sponge and then, for Pro, Topsheet, but not pimples.

    So many factors you can change to get different effects. Gotta love the equipment. I think my ideal job would be to test equipment from all the companies all day long. Okay, my ideal second job. I love teaching yoga.
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  9. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #9
    I guess I should add this. It is from the same site:

    "- Omega IV series are the advanced version of Vega Pro. Compared to Vega Pro, the advantages of Omega IV series are more spin, better control, louder sound, and additional speed. The pimple structure of Omega IV is identical to that of Vega Pro. Top layer of 100% natural rubber and densely arranged pimple structure is for maximum spin. Unique "Carbo Sponge" gives exciting catapult effect."

    From this description I cannot really tell if it is the same topsheet for Omega IV or a different topsheet. But it is the same pimple structure and a different sponge.

    Again, I think it is cool how you can change a rubber's playing characteristics by making one small change.
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    #10
    I agree with Carl.
    Im not sure there is much of a difference between red and black DHS- Zhang Yining and Li Xiaodan use a "normal colour" setup.
    My coach says that in general, black is a teeny bit slower and spinnier because of the chemicals in the dye, but thats about it. I have wondered, what colours are rubbers pre dying? My guess is white/colourless. That would be awesome, a colourless rubber imagine that guys! Or transparent lol- transparent pimps would be a nightmare to play against when the guy twiddles!

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    #11
    Great great explanation guys!! Simply brilliant!!. Interesting point you brought up there Matt. It made me think, and I believe that there are some truth in what you said. Nice...

    And Carl, super find on the Xiom rubbers. All is very clear now. Like you said, a minuscule change on the rubber and sponge properties, a huge change in the overall characteristics of the rubber. And like D_E said, it all comes down to preferences.

    All the points actually helped me a lot in understanding the playing characteristics of each rubber. I assume the manufacturers R&D dept is the best department. I would put you there Carl, you can test out the rubbers and fiddle with the combinations. But of course, after your yoga classes..

    Thanx guys!! But if anything more pops up, do post them here. I'm very interested. Any views are welcome, no matter how silly you think they are
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    #12
    I've heard that manufacturers use some form carbon in the black dye which would make the differences. In my own experience black pips-in rubbers are slightly spinnier than red. An equipment salesman told me that the difference is much bigger in pips-out rubbers but the difference is not in spin but in durability. Especially long pips are hit so that the black pips would brake a lot easier than the red. I have to add that the differences caused by colour in pips-in rubbers are so minute that the differences in overall quality are much much bigger.

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    #13
    Now, that is quite a good point Roope . We hardly ever see players using red long pips. Since carbon is black, I guess there is a possibility that they use it in the dye. Thanx for the info...
    Last edited by azlan; 02-19-2012 at 11:34 AM.
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    #14
    Don't forget that sponge color does affect the topsheet color too. Actually, Ma Lin, Kong Ling Hui use red as their forehand before the speed glue ban. I remember I checked through one of the chinese TT website, most likely is the bokett about why most of CNT player now using the black top sheet instead of red as most of other. One of the reason is their sponge color. Most CNT player has a blue sponge for forehand, as the blue sponge color does not go well with red top sheet, and it may violate the ITTF rule.

    I'm recall there are a few rubber with black or some dark color sponge too, and they have only black top sheet for it. And they release the other version of sponge color for the red one. But I'm not sure about xiom vega with black sponge.

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    #15
    One of the reason is their sponge color. Most CNT player has a blue sponge for forehand, as the blue sponge color does not go well with red top sheet, and it may violate the ITTF rule.
    I can see your point there Dici. Most probably, with the blue sponge or even black on Xiom rubbers, it may be a little transparent and the colour of the sponge might come through the red rubbers. What I don't quite understand is why bokett comes into the picture?

    I remember I checked through one of the chinese TT website, most likely is the bokett about why most of CNT player now using the black top sheet instead of red as most of other. One of the reason is their sponge color.
    Do you think you can still find the article from Bokett? I tried, but was unsuccessful...
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Super Chopper
    I have wondered, what colours are rubbers pre dying? My guess is white/colourless.
    I could be wrong but I believe that is right; that rubber, before being dyed is a semi-clear, milky-white-colorless color, sort of like what rubber cement looks like.
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by dici
    Don't forget that sponge color does affect the topsheet color too. Actually, Ma Lin, Kong Ling Hui use red as their forehand before the speed glue ban. I remember I checked through one of the chinese TT website, most likely is the bokett about why most of CNT player now using the black top sheet instead of red as most of other. One of the reason is their sponge color. Most CNT player has a blue sponge for forehand, as the blue sponge color does not go well with red top sheet, and it may violate the ITTF rule.
    This doesn't make sense because most of the CNT players used black rubbers on the forehand with orange sponge before they switched to the blue sponged rubbers.

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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by JustAlt
    This doesn't make sense because most of the CNT players used black rubbers on the forehand with orange sponge before they switched to the blue sponged rubbers.
    Most CNT players might have been using black rubbers back in the day, but according to Dici Ma Lin and Kong were not. I think, Ma Lin was forced to change to black, because DHS doesn't produce red rubbers with blue sponge for some reason.
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    #19
    @azlan, actually bokett is just one of a large forum over china there. But after the searching, I found it was from another forum. However, I just found over mytt about this info, it is stated in ittf rule 1.3 sponge section, "Translucent red coverings may not be used over dark sponges or dark blades, and translucent black ones may not be used over light sponges or light blades."

    @JustAlt, yea, most of them use black, should have not use "most" for me. But Ma Lin and Kong did use a red topsheet by that time. Not sure how about the euro rubber, if the black one has a better quality as the chinese rubber? or both black and red has similar quality?

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    Thanx for clarifying it Dici much appreciated.
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