Advanced polyurethane materials for perfect flight
adidas ‘Telstar 18’ is the most advanced World Cup ball to date
ALL eyes were again on the ball when 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia kicked off on 14 June. The ‘Telstar 18’ proudly continues the series of Official World Cup Balls adidas has produced since 1970, when the original Telstar with its iconic 32 black and white panels changed football design forever.
“Telstar 18 employs the latest developments in polyurethane coated textiles, which lends it optimal handling, great flight characteristics and superb water resistance” said Thomas Michelis, head of Covestro Textile Coatings EMLA, the company that has developed and supplied advanced materials for adidas soccer balls for more than 30 years.
“Its outer shell with its Impranil® layers and Dispercoll® adhesives make Telstar 18 a high-tech sports equipment, and light years ahead of the stitched leather balls I used to play with as a kid,” said Michaelis continues. “Modern synthetic materials ensure players get predictable ball performance under all weather conditions, something anyone experienced wet soccer balls will appreciate.”
The innermost layer of the ball skin is an adhesion coating that connects the textile substrate to the layers above. On top of this is a polyurethane foam layer, roughly one millimeter thick, made up of millions of gas-filled microspheres. This foam is highly elastic so that the ball, after being deformed from being kicked, immediately returns to its spherical shape to ensure an optimal flight path.
The outer skin comprises two compact layers of polyurethane with different thicknesses. These layers are responsible for the outstanding resistance to external influences and abrasion, and for the ball’s high elasticity.