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Getting the ball rolling

Nanotechnology made its Davis Cup debut in 2002, in a tennis ball with long-lasting bounce. Inside the 'Double Core' ball there's an extra layer - a coating made of 1 nanometre-thick clay platelets mixed with rubber. The platelets create a maze that slows down air flowing through it, so the ball stays inflated for longer.

Trapping air is useful for many things, not just tennis balls. The barrier coating could stop air from spoiling your food through the wrapping, keep chemicals from touching your skin and prevent car tyres losing pressure.

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Nanotechnology gives these tennis balls extra bounce.
Nanotechnology gives these tennis balls extra bounce.
Image: Science Museum

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