Reinventing the Billiard Ball | Eastman Innovation Lab

Reinventing the Billiard Ball

Glass-like clarity with Eastman Tritan™ copolyester


The material history of billiard balls is as colorful as the balls themselves. With Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, the future could be even brighter.

As Jeff Applegate, president of Blackwell Plastics, sees it, Tritan™ “opens a lot of doors for design and molding” thick parts such as billiard balls. The material also has the durability and impact resistance required.

The first billiard balls were made of wood, followed by clay, ivory and, beginning in 1870, celluloid based on nitrocellulose, which often exploded in production. Urban legend has it that the celluloid balls sometimes exploded during rough play.

Currently, billiard balls are made from phenolic resins, polyester, and clear acrylic.

But what if billiard balls took advantage of the glass-like clarity of Tritan™?

“The clarity and design of a clear billiard ball could have added value if the performance of Tritan™ is comparable to existing materials,” says Jason Mann, a project engineer for Blackwell Plastics. “It could create an entirely new user experience.”