Coverstock – Part 4

Let’s dive deeper still…
This time, we will primarily talk about Reactive resin and Urethane and generalities in ball reaction.

Remember when we talked about the USBC Ball Motion Study and that Surface Roughness is the most influencing factor on ball motion? Well, here we go…

The different coverstock finishes available with reactive resin include Solid Reactive, Pearlized Reactive, and Particle reactive (solid and pearlized versions). The reason all of these different surfaces are available are to affect lane play via different surface roughness. We haven’t even talked about surface adjustments yet.

Solid Reactives
This is a type of cover which is generally sanded to different grits. They may come from the factory at 1000grit, 2000grit, or even 4000grit. If you check out typical sandpaper at your local hardware store, you will generally find something like 220 or 500 grit to be the finest. To get this fine, you need Abralon. Don’t worry about this for now, but I wanted to use the sandpaper analogy to help you understand. The surface is fairly tacky relative to the lane and thus likes to dig into the oil. Like we talked about before, the rougher the surface, the more hook potential for a ball. So in simplest terms, the same ball at 1000 grit will hook more than at 4000 grit. This will change in relation to lane conditions which we will cover in the next installment. The solid surface can generally be altered with ease, in other words, you can select the abralon grade you like, you can add polish, etc. It will change the reaction of the ball and make it very tunable.

Pearlized Reactives
These are very similar to solid reactives with one critical exception, there is a pearl additive mixed in when the coverstock is being poured at the factory. This makes it shiny creating less friction. Generally speaking, a pearlized version of the same solid cover will allow it to go longer down the lane before hooking. This will give you a different look from the solid reactive. In addition, the backend reaction will tend to be more than a solid because the ball has stored energy by gliding in the oil longer. When it reaches the dry part of the lane, it will react quickly. I feel that the pearlized covers are generally less tunable than solids. They are made from the factory with a “permanent” slickness with the pearlized additive. This means that while you can use abralon to dull these balls, you will be to some extent, fighting the ball’s natural tendency. Dulling the ball makes it hook earlier, when the pearlized ball wanted to hook later. It can be done, but to varying degrees of success depending on the ball.

Particle Reactives
There was a big push at some point towards these balls. It was thought they might be the next big thing, but they eventually fell out of favor. I won’t spend a whole lot of time here, but let’s describe these balls. Basically, manufacturers added microscopic particles to the cover, in hopes that it will increase the Surface Roughness. By doing this you will have a ball that hooks a ton. It also created a smooth reaction because it the ball was “digging in” to the oil sooner. There were a handful of bad balls where the effect of particle was short-lived. It didn’t catch on, but there are a couple of manufacturers still making these type of balls. There are also pearlized versions, similar to the solid reactives.

These were the precursor to the Reactive resin ball. They have been resurrected from the dead recently by a handful of manufacturers. They hook earlier and smoother than any reactive resins. Their surface can be adjusted as well, but the change in reaction will be not so dramatic. That’s simply because compared to reactive balls, they are not as aggressive.

In the next article, we will get deeper into comparing ball motion between these different technologies.