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Should Poly netting be used for Batting Cage Nets?

Poly may refer to Polyethylene or polypropylene. We only use polyethylene in our batting cage nets but other manufacturers may use  a Polyethylene and Polypropylene blend for their products. Polypropylene is a much weaker fiber when it comes to both strength and UV protection.

Always be sure to ask your retailer if the net is made of pure polyethylene or a polypropylene blend.

Since we only use polyethylene in our poly batting cage nets, lets talk about polyethylene and how it is used to create batting cage nets.

36 Gauge Poly Batting Cage Net

36 Gauge Poly Batting Cage Net

 

Polyethylene begins as pellets or chips that are then melted down, extruded, and twisted and spun into fibers that make twine.

This extrusion process is what creates the different qualities of poly nets.

If the extrusion process is harsh enough so that the tiny molecules of HDPE (high density polyethylene) align themselves in a straight line, like BB’s inside of a straw, then the HDPE is stronger than any nylon fiber. This is called molecularly aligned PE. You know it by the trade names Spectra and Dyneema.

Spectra and Dyneema are commonly used in bulletproof vests, and are two of the strongest materials available. They’re stronger than Kevlar and 15x stronger than steel.

If the extrusion process is less harsh, then the molecules of polyethylene spread out, like BB’s in a coffee cup, than the weaker the HDPE becomes. Semi-aligned PE construction is used to create a material called Sapphire. Sapphire is a unique HDPE that has tremendous strength, abrasion resistance, and doesn’t require any net coating. Unfortunately, this form of Poly isn’t affordable for sports netting use, at this time.

The Polyethylene used in our FlexNets, while not as strong as Sapphire, is 100% Original Polyethylene with no recycled materials and provides UV protection, water resistance, and abrasion resistance, which is what makes it an excellent cost-effective batting cage option.

Breaking Strength and Abrasion Resistance

Breaking Strength is an important feature in the netting industry as a whole. Poly netting is known for its high break-strength. However, when used as a batting cage net, breaking strength becomes a less important statistic, because the net will rarely, if ever, be tested to its breaking point. You can review breaking strengths and take a closer look at material types with our Net Examiner.

A more important feature than breaking strength to consider is abrasion resistance. The spinning baseball or softball actually wears the netting down by abrasion and heat. In the past, hardballs were used exclusively and the need for very abrasion resistant netting was a must. As PVC and Poly balls become more common, net life has been greatly extended. Polyethylene has excellent abrasion resistance, but is inferior to a Nylon net.

Here’s how poly stacks up against other batting cage material types:

 

Netting Materials

 

In my next blog post, we’ll cover Nylon netting and how it’s used in batting cage nets.

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  1. […] covered the history of Polyethylene in Batting Cage Nets a few weeks ago, and now it’s time to take a look at nylon and how and why it’s used as […]

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