What is Ping pong
Table Tennis is an indoor game usually played by two or four players. It involves a lightweight ball, small bats, and a table divided by a net in the middle. It is also referred to as Ping pong or whiff whaff depending on location.
Initially, the game had a scoring of up to 21 points, but the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) regulated that to 11 points. Previously the ball was smaller, but after 2001, the ball’s diameter was increased to 1.57 from 1.5 inches.
The History of Ping Pong
British soldiers arguably invented the game of Table Tennis in India in the 19th century. While the soldiers used hardcover books and a golf ball to play the game, such tools today should not be anywhere near a Ping Pong table.
When the game reached England, other types of balls came into play. The typical balls were made of tightly wound string, rubber, and even champagne corks served as table tennis balls. The big break came in 1901 when Jack Gibb discovered the modern Ping Pong ball.
What Are Ping Pong Balls Made From?
Ping Pong balls are made from celluloid, a synthetic plastic made in the 19th century. It is highly flammable, and you should take extra caution not to expose it to open flame. Celluloid has been a desirable material in the production of Table Tennis balls because it displays a unique bounce.
Even though celluloid has been the material for Ping Pong balls, you should note that the ITTF is considering using plastic in the ball’s production.
Why Were the Initial Ping Pong Balls Replaced?
Due to the unpredictable bounce of the rubber balls and champagne corks, people could not enjoy the game as they do today. The modern Ping Pong ball produces a specific bounce that a player can expect.
How Are They Manufactured?
Universally Ping Pongs balls are held to a specific standard dictating the manufacturing process. Table Tennis balls are widely manufactured in Shanghai, China, where the citizens embrace the sport on a different level than most people.
The process of manufacture involves several steps using designated machinery. The first step is to immerse a flat sheet of celluloid in heated alcohol to achieve a level of softness. Once the sheet is soft, it is pressed into a mold, producing half-spheres that are left to cool down.
The next step is to trim edges to the desired shape, weigh them and discard any half-spheres that aren’t perfect. The ones left should form perfect round ping pong balls that are of the desired weight.
Once the balls are joined, there should be no evidence of the joinery. Mechanical processes ensure that even though there is a visible seam, it is smooth and cannot affect the functionality of the ball. The purpose of taking delicate measures in manufacturing is to ascertain the ball’s true bounce and trajectory.
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Must-Have Characteristics of a Ping Pong Ball
In order for a Ping Pong ball to be accepted in an international game, it must bear some characteristics which include:
- The manufacturing material must be celluloid or similar plastic
- It must weigh 2.7 grams
- It must be a perfect round shape
- The color must be orange or white
- It should display a matte finish and not gloss
What is True Bounce
The ITTF expects a particular bounce where Ping Pong is involved. Even though the true bounce directly affects the surface of the Ping Pong table, it is a vital aspect that the regulating body addresses. The ITTF highly recommends that when the table tennis ball is dropped from a height of 30mm, the ball must bounce to 26 mm.
The true bounce applies no matter the table you bounce the ball from or where the ball was manufactured. Comparing with the unpredictability of previous Ping pong balls, you should understand why the regulating body insists on the true bounce.
Can You Fix A Damaged Ping Pong Ball?
Considering the fragility of ping pong balls, you should take extra care with yours. You can easily damage your ping pong balls by stepping on them or hitting them on the ping pong table’s net post. Once such damage occurs, it is irreversible.
However, there are damage cases that you can work on and restore Ping Pong ball. If it is a dent, you are in luck because you can get your ball back. The process is simple, and it involves hot water. Heat some water and immerse the ball into the water after reaching boiling point.
Use a spoon to fight the ball’s buoyancy. The hot water will cause the air inside the ball will expand, pushing out the dent. Once that is complete, remove the ball from the hot water.
Ping Pong Ball Regulations
Table tennis or ping pong rules are regulated by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), which is located in Switzerland. In 2001, the body increased the ping pong’s ball size and reduced scoring to 11. By doing so, the game increased its viewership by avoiding long matches.
Ping pong is a favorite and inexpensive game that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Since it accommodates two to four players, you can invite friends to play the game. Following its evolution, ping pong has come a long way from rubber balls to the now widely used celluloid games.
As you enjoy table tennis, be sure to keep the ball away from open flames because the manufacturing material is highly flammable.