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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Artificial Feather for Shuttlecock, Shuttlecock, and Method of Manufacturing Artificial Feather for...

June 26, 2014



Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Artificial Feather for Shuttlecock, Shuttlecock, and Method of Manufacturing Artificial Feather for Shuttlecock", for Approval

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventor Yoneyama, Wataru (Saitama, JP), filed on July 27, 2012, was made available online on June 12, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Yonex Kabushiki Kaisha.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "As badminton shuttlecocks, there are those using waterfowl feather (natural feather) (natural feather shuttlecocks) and those using artificial feather (artificial feather shuttlecocks) artificially manufactured using nylon resin and the like, for the feathers.

"As is well known, natural feather shuttlecocks have a structure using approximately 16 natural feathers of geese, ducks or the like, and the ends of the stems of the feathers are embedded into the hemispherical platform (base portion) made of cork covered with skin. The feather used for natural feather shuttlecocks have a feature of the specific gravity being small and being extremely light. For example, the specific gravity of the stem portion is approximately 0.4 and the vane portion is approximately 0.15. Additionally, feather has high rigidity and thereby a unique flying performance and comfortable impression when hitting natural feather shuttlecocks can be perceived.

"However, the feather used as the material for natural feather shuttlecocks are collected from the aforementioned waterfowls and moreover, feathers of specific portions of the waterfowl are suitable for shuttlecocks which does not mean that feathers from any portion of the waterfowl can be used and thus the amount of feather for a shuttlecock that can be collected from one waterfowl is a miniscule number. In other words, there is a limit to the amount of feather manufactured for use in natural feather shuttlecocks. Further, there has been a situation of a large amount of geese, used for food that had been the main source for feather, being disposed due to bird flu epidemic in recent years. Therefore, material procurement is predicted to become more difficult and the price of natural feather shuttlecocks to rise further in the future.

"Meanwhile, shuttlecocks with resin feather integrally formed in a ring shape is well known as artificial feather shuttlecocks, however, the feathers of these artificial feather shuttlecocks do not move independently as with natural feather shuttlecocks so that flight performance similar to natural feather shuttlecocks is difficult to be achieved. For such reason, artificial feather shuttlecocks imitating feather has been proposed as described in the following PTL 1 and 2."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "Technical Problem

"The smaller the amount the shuttlecock presses down on the gut (string), the lighter the hitting impression of the shuttlecock is perceived to be and is highly evaluated. On the other hand, when the amount that the shuttlecock presses down on the gut becomes large, the hitting impression is perceived to be heavy and is evaluated badly.

"In the case of shuttlecocks of the same weight, when the shuttlecock is hit (when the shuttlecock receives a force from the gut), not only the base portion but also the vane and the rachis contact the gut, therefore the amount that the shuttlecock presses down on the gut becomes small because the rachis has high rigidity and high repulsion, and the hitting impression becomes light. Assuming that the rachis has low rigidity and low repulsion, the amount that the shuttlecock presses down on the gut becomes large and the hitting impression becomes heavy.

"The excellent hitting impression of the natural shuttlecock results from not only that the natural feathers are lightweight, but also that the rachises of the feathers are high in rigidity and high in repulsion. Therefore, the artificial feathers used in the artificial feather shuttlecocks are also required to be not only lightweight but also high in rigidity and high in repulsion in the rachis portion that corresponds to the rachis of natural feathers.

"In PTL 1 and PTL 2, fiber reinforced resin is used as the material of the rachis portion of the artificial feather shuttlecock. But in the case that glass reinforced resin is used as the fiber reinforced resin, sufficient repulsion cannot be obtained and thus the hitting impression of the artificial shuttlecock falls short of the natural shuttlecock. On the other hand, in the case that reinforced resin using carbon fibers is adopted, when the carbon fibers are combined to a degree that sufficient hitting impression can be obtained (to a degree that sufficient rigidity is obtained), the shuttlecock becomes easy to break, and there arises a problem in durability.

"When the artificial feather shuttlecock is made flexible in order to improve durability, the shuttlecock becomes low in rigidity and in repulsion and thus sufficient hitting impression cannot be obtained. As described above, durability and hitting impression are mutually contradictory issues and it has been difficult to balance these issues.

"The present invention provides improvement in hitting impression without loss of durability.

"Solution to Problem

"A main aspect of the invention is an artificial feather for a shuttlecock including:

"a sheet form vane portion; and a rachis portion supporting the vane portion,

"the rachis portion being made of resin including glass fiber and carbon nanotube.

"Advantageous Effects of Invention

"With the artificial feather for shuttlecocks of this invention, hitting impression can be improved without loss of durability.

"Other features of the present invention will be made clear through the present specification with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an artificial feather shuttlecock seen from the side with a base portion.

"FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the artificial feather shuttlecock seen from the side with an artificial feather.

"FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the artificial feather.

"FIGS. 4A to 4C are explanatory views of a modified example of an artificial feather 10. FIG. 4A is a plan view of the artificial feather 10 of the modified example seen from the front side. FIG. 4B is a plan view of the artificial feather 10 of the modified example seen from the back side. FIG. 4C is a view of the artificial feather 10 of the modified example seen from the upper side.

"FIG. 5 is a view showing a part of a skirt portion 4 configured with the artificial feathers 10 of the modified example seen from above.

"FIG. 6 is a chart showing materials and evaluation results of samples.

"FIG. 7A is a photograph taken of a comparison sample A. FIG. 7B is a photograph taken of sample C.

"FIGS. 8A and 8B are photomicrographs showing sections of a rachis portion of sample B. FIG. 8A is a photomicrograph of a section, and FIG. 8B is a photomicrograph of a surface after a part has been partially melted with a solvent."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Yoneyama, Wataru. Artificial Feather for Shuttlecock, Shuttlecock, and Method of Manufacturing Artificial Feather for Shuttlecock. Filed July 27, 2012 and posted June 12, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=2271&p=46&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140605.PD.&OS=PD/20140605&RS=PD/20140605

Keywords for this news article include: Yonex Kabushiki Kaisha.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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