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3.5. What is Speedglue ?


This article is from the Table Tennis (Ping Pong) FAQ, by ttennis@bu.edu with numerous contributions by others.

3.5. What is Speedglue ?

Speedglue, the glue used in the practice of regluing your rubbers, has been
used since the late 70's. I believe that the practice was attributed to
Klampar or Surbek. What the players do before each practice session or
match is to peel off the rubber sheet from the wood blade, put fresh glue
on both the blade and rubber sheets, and replace the rubbers back onto the
wood. The secret is a solvent that is found in the glue - most commonly -
trichloroethylene. The trichloroethene can penetrate into the molecular
network of the sponge effectively 'swelling' up the sponge (A crude analogy
may be taking a sponge that the hard when dry and becomes soft wneh wet).
The rubber sheet, when 'swelled' by tri-chloroethylene becomes much softer.
This will do a few things to your bat. The ball can penetrate further into
the sponge of your rubber, in effect, making more contact with the blade.
Thus, the more contact the ball has with the blade, the faster your shot
will be. Also, since you can sink the ball further into the spong you can
generate more spin. The softer sponge also markedly increases the dwell
time that the ball stays on your racket - so it can also increase your

Regluing is more effective with rubber sheets that have a soft sponge.
The softer sponges have a less heavily cross-linked molecular network than
hard sponges that allow the solvents to penetrate easier and swell/expand
the sponge easier. Thus, there will be more of a regluing effect if you use
a soft sponged rubber. However, a soft sponge will lose it's elastisity
faster than a hard sponge.

Some disadvantages come with regluing. The first disadvantage is the
decrease in elasticity of the sponge. When trichloroethylene penetrates
the sponge and breaks apart molecular cross-links, the sponge becomes
softer. When the solvent proceeds to evaporate from the sponge, the
cross-links are not in the same condition as they were before the solvent
was applied, and thus, a decrease in the elasticity/ resilience of the
sponge. After about 20 regluings, there can be a significant change from
the original character of the rubber. The second disadvantage is the
constant change is racket angle when playing. The effect of the solvent
gradually decreases over time, and constant modifications in your racket
angle must be done. Also, regluing will add weight to your bat each time
you reglue because of the extra glue applied. Finally, the solvents used
are usually very volatile, toxic, and could be cancerous.


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