What Are Trampolines Made Of: (Complete Guide)

What Are Trampolines Made Of

In the USA alone, people buy over 500,000 backyard trampolines yearly, but they aren’t all equal. Varying styles and materials mean that some trampolines don’t last as long.

Choosing a higher-quality trampoline will keep you bouncing for years to come. What are trampolines made of?

The primary materials a trampoline are made of are galvanized steel, polyethylene, and polypropylene plastic because they’re weather-resistant and highly durable. The frame and net poles are interlocking pieces of coated galvanized steel for the weight and reliability it provides. The jumping mat and safety nets utilize polypropylene with a UV coating for flexible outdoor longevity.

What Are Trampoline Frames Made Of

Trampoline frames are made out of either galvanized steel or aluminum. The steel frames are much heavier and last roughly twice as long.

Meanwhile, the advantage of an aluminum frame is the lighter weight, making this style easier to move and assemble.

Additionally, most trampoline frames have either a powder coating or another protective layer, such as outdoor paint, to help prevent rust and corrosion.

What Metal Are Trampolines Made Of

The metal used in trampolines is galvanized steel tubing. This shape and material are ideal for creating a rigid, durable frame that can handle the pressure of thousands of jumps.

Plus, galvanized steel, especially when covered with an excellent waterproof outer paint or powder coating, can withstand years of outdoor conditions.

The galvanization process offers significant protection against the elements on its own. Steel is galvanized through the ‘Hot Dip’ method, which applies a layer of zinc to the outside of the metal.

Zinc combines with oxygen more readily than steel. As a result, you get a layer of zinc oxide on the outside of your metal that prevents iron oxide from forming.

As MetalWest explains, “The hot-dip process consists of submerging the carbon steel into a molten zinc bath (approximately 680 degrees Fahrenheit). When the material is removed from the zinc bath and cooled, a reaction to the oxygen in the air occurs. The reaction causes the zinc to become part of the steel (an iron-zinc alloy bond).”

Undamaged hot-dip galvanized steel will last 34 to 170 years.

While that lifespan is undoubtedly impressive, the process of jumping and particulate matter in the wind will likely wear your trampoline frame down much sooner.

Expect more like 2 to 10 years of working life on most models.

Are Trampolines Made Out Of Aluminum

Some trampoline makers use heavy-duty aluminum similar to that chosen for aircraft in their frames.

Unfortunately, this aluminum doesn’t have the stability of a steel frame, making it a poor choice at best. Aluminum frames are more likely to bend and break under pressure from a jumper.

There are two advantages to an aluminum trampoline frame. First, it’s incredibly lightweight, making it easy to move, carry and assemble regardless of your strength.

Secondly, aluminum is less expensive than steel. Using it for the frame on a large toy or exercise equipment reduces the manufacturing cost.

This often means aluminum trampolines are more cost-effective for the consumer, but the material won’t last as long.

Aluminum is generally expected to last 40 to 80 years, but it hasn’t been specifically studied in outdoor toys.

The projected lifespan is for buildings, which don’t take multiple impacts and generally have other materials on top of the framework, so it’s not exposed to the elements.

Expect an aluminum frame trampoline to last 1 to 5 years.

What Are Trampoline Springs Made Of

Trampoline springs are made of thick gauge metal wire. Wires are often made with heated metal pulled or pressed through a hole in a die-plate that is the exact diameter the eventual wire will be when completed.

After that, the wire is cooled and cut to the correct length.

A machine coils lengths of wire to form the spring shape. Finally, the ends of the wire are formed into the shape of a hook or circle depending on the manufacturer’s process and its intended use.

In some cases, the finished springs may have a loop on one end and a hook on the other for easy, secure attachment.

What Metal Are Trampoline Springs Made Of

Metal trampoline springs are made of non-corrosive galvanized steel.

Because of how springs work, they cannot usually be coated effectively as the coils will rub as you bounce and scrape any external coating off quickly.

Having a corrosion-proof or corrosion-resistant metal is essential to avoid overly-frequent spring replacements.

According to Science Direct, “Corrosion-resistant steels are made by adding more than 12% of chromium—which results in the formation of a thin, chemically stable, and passive oxide film. The oxide film forms and heals itself in the presence of oxygen. Steels containing more than 12% of chromium are known as stainless steels.”

What Material Is A Trampoline Mat Made Of

Trampoline mats are made from waterproof canvas and polypropylene. Some use only one or the other, and others incorporate both materials.

Polypropylene (C3H6)n is a thermoplastic addition polymer that is produced via chain-growth polymerization from the monomer propylene.

In short, it’s a versatile, stretchy plastic that absorbs shock and bounces back well.

Polypropylene Trampoline Fabric

Polypropylene trampoline fabric is a sheet made of thousands of small individual strands of polypropylene threads.

The weave is like most other cloths and involves an over-under alternating pattern which eventually results in a long, solid, rectangular sheet of material.

The long, finished sheets are then cut to size and stitched around the edges to prevent threads from coming loose.

Are Trampolines Made Of Rubber

Trampolines are wonderfully bouncy, like a rubber ball, so it’s only natural to wonder if they are made of rubber.

Modern trampolines do not contain rubber parts, with one exception.

A few creative and thrifty people are upcycling tires and turning them into mini trampoline frames, but apart from these rare, handmade toys, there are no mass-produced trampolines made of rubber.

What Are Trampoline Nets Made Of

Trampoline nets are made from polyethylene webbing. The material is created in a dry-wet spinning extrusion process by turning the polyethylene into a gel form.

Doing this keeps the polymers together in chains, allowing the formless mass to be worked into the desired shape, in this case, a thread.

The webbing itself is woven in a manner similar to other fabrics so that it becomes a sheet of material, but unlike the mat, the sheet is not solid.

Gaps are left between the individual threads so that air can flow freely inside the eventual enclosure.

Without that webwork design, a trampoline with a solid fabric ‘net’ around it would work a little like an oven, trapping heat inside and making it dangerous for jumpers.

What Are Trampoline Safety Pads Made Of

Trampoline safety pads are made of foam and vinyl. On the outside is a stitched cover made of the vinyl material that holds the foam in place.

This may have elastic stitched on in some cases to help the padding fit and stay in place, but some padding may fit so well it doesn’t need elastic to remain in position or be attached in other ways.

It may surprise you to learn that vinyl is made from petroleum oil and salt in a process known as cracking.

The oil goes through a heat and pressure-treating process to separate out the various components or substances, sometimes called fractionals. The only part of the oil needed for vinyl is called ethylene.

Meanwhile, the salt uses electrolytic disassociation to create chlorine. The ethylene and salt chlorine combine to form ethylene dichloride.

Ethylene dichloride is then heated to incredible temperatures and turns to vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) gas.

Next, in a process called polymerization, that gas becomes chemically stable polyvinyl chloride resin. The resin is then used to create sheets of PVC or vinyl fabric.

The foam is what provides the actual padding that covers the frame and springs for safety.

While padding cannot prevent all injuries, it helps keep people from stepping down onto the springs and getting pinched. The foam has varying densities.

Ultimately, the thickness of the foam is decided by the manufacturer based on how the trampoline will be used, such as in backyard, competition, and mini trampolines.

Most use high-density closed-cell foam for its durable, springy feel and impact-absorbing qualities.

What Are Trampoline Poles Made Of

Trampoline poles are typically made of steel. There are, however, some brands that use aluminum or even flexible fiberglass substitutes.

The standard steel poles are 1- to 2-millimeter-thick tubing that is hollow inside, so they will be lightweight and use less material.

Outside the metal, you will usually find high-density closed-cell foam tubes. These look a lot like pool noodles and are made from the same material.

The net will attach to these with seatbelt webbing or have a canvas, vinyl, or polypropylene pole and pad cover sewn into the net that slips over the poles.

The details of these connection points vary based on the design, as some trampolines have outward bending poles.

Are Trampoline Poles Galvanized

Some trampoline poles are made of galvanized steel tubing. However, others are aluminum or non-galvanized steel with a protective coating.

Unlike the frame, net poles don’t get as much impact since it’s a good idea to avoid bouncing into them.

What Are Trampoline Ladders Made Of

Trampoline ladders are made of heavy-duty galvanized steel or heavy-duty aluminum. The thick tubing is sturdy and meant to take up to 300 pounds on a step, depending on the model.

The tops of these steps have a flat step made from durable, UV-resistant plastic and the bottoms sometimes have plastic or rubber feet for better traction and stability.

What Are Olympic Trampolines Made Out Of

Olympic trampolines are made from the same materials as backyard trampolines. The difference is that they are always high-end materials, so you will not find an aluminum part.

Additionally, there is no safety net for an Olympic trampoline, and it is made to take much higher forces for extended periods.

It’s important to note that “Olympic Sized” trampolines, which are 10 by 17 feet, are not the same as actual Olympic quality or competition trampolines.

A thicker mat and more springs lead to higher bounces. The Olympic trampoline has an X in the center for jumpers to aim at, and it’s there for a good reason.

This style of trampolines has a lot more elasticity and ‘bounce’ which can throw a jumper as high as 33 feet in the air.

Being off-center can lead to a devastating or even deadly fall.

What Are Springfree Trampolines Made Of

The rods on the Springfree trampolines are well known because they help prevent spring-wear and spring-related accidents, which are incredibly commonplace on a trampoline.

These special non-springs are glass-reinforced plastic rods. You may know the material better by its other name, fiberglass.

The rest of these safer, springless yet incredibly bouncy trampolines are made from “… UV stabilized mat, and net rods, a galvanized and powder-coated steel frame and a UV stabilized polypropylene mat and safety enclosure,” according to Springfree.

What Are Old Trampolines Made Of

Old trampolines were not made of modern materials. In the 1930s, the first recognized modern-style trampoline was invented by George Nissen at the University of Iowa for his act in the Iowa Hawkeye Circus.

George literally created the handcrafted trampoline out of scrap steel parts and tire tubes.

The tubes took the place of springs, offering a flexible bounce for the surface of his homemade jumping device.

As for the net, there was none. Adding or requiring safety nets on trampolines didn’t become part of these bouncing toys until decades later.

Helpful Tips To Know About What Trampolines Are Made Of

They may seem simple with their mat, frame, and springs, but many improvements and innovations have gone into modern trampolines.

Some changes were practical to extend the life of the parts, while safety concerns drove others.

Here are more helpful tips to know about what trampolines are made of.

  • To extend your trampoline frame’s life, you must inspect it regularly. Take the time once per month to clean off any rust and add a protective, UV, and waterproof coating layer as needed to prevent further corrosion.
  • It wasn’t until the year 2000 that trampolining was officially introduced as an Olympic sport. This may be due to the risks involved. With over 100,000 trampoline injuries that end in hospital visits each year in the US alone, it’s easy to see why this tricky sport wasn’t high on the list of candidates for inclusion until it became so popular and widespread that a modern Olympic Games needed to include it to keep up with the times.
  • Although it’s not as rugged or durable as steel, aluminum is the most abundant metal on earth. That means it is less expensive to mine and easier to find. If you’re looking for a lightweight trampoline that doesn’t need to last a decade, this can be an excellent option. However, you should take extra steps to secure it to the ground because less weight means it will fly away more easily in high winds.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to bounce to your heart’s content without ever considering what your trampoline is made out of. Most people do.

However, now that you know some of the options and how those materials are made and used, it can help you find a better-quality trampoline that will last longer.

Always select galvanized steel over aluminum and coated, UV-resistant materials over the non-coated and exposed counterparts.

You will get much more life out of your trampoline with better quality parts and materials.

Drew Thomas

My name is Drew Thomas and I’m the creator of Fun In the Yard, your one stop site for all your outdoor games, sports, party activities, outdoor gear, and lawn & gardening tips.

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