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What Are Paintballs Made Of? All You Need to Know

Who doesn’t love paintball? If you are a paintball hater, you have no clue of the amount of fun you are missing out on. If you are a paintball enthusiast, you must at one time or the other asked yourself, what are paintballs made of?

Because a hit on bare skin with the paintball can be quite painful. Has a paintball ever hit your bare skin? Did the pain ever make you wonder what paintball makers use to make the paintballs? We will tell you all that and why the paintballs only kill you in theory and not for real.

What Is Paintball and What Does It Entail?

Paintball is a team sport that involves players shooting each other with tiny balls that serve as the bullets. The balls contain either paint or dye and can be paintball when they land on bare skin.

Players shoot the balls from special air guns with CO2 cartridges, which force out the balls from the gun. Once the ball hits the target, it bursts open to release different colors according to the ball type. The balls usually come in round shapes and feature a variety of colors.

what are paintballs made of

What Are Paintballs Made Of?

Before paintball became the vastly popular game today, the paintballs were of rather unsafe materials. For instance, glass (thin) was the shell, and several toxic dyes acting as the fill.

You don’t have to be hit with such a ball to know that it would be quite painful. That prompted the making of paintballs that are safe for players. For that to happen, they had to use safer material to make the balls.

Paintballs are one of the most outstanding engineering and chemical wonders because of their construction. Imagine a marker working just like a gun to propel a paintball out with a high speed of up to 91 meters per second! Considering the paintball is a dye enclosed in a shell, isn’t that a wonder? You bet it is!

To understand what manufacturers use to make paintballs, you first need to know that paintballs leave the marker gun at incredible speeds whenever you fire the weapon. The balls burst on impact and cause a sting on the mark or opponent. Due to their construction, the balls cannot cause any tissue damage since the burst or break on impact and release the dye.

So how then is the dye encapsulated in the paintball?

Encapsulation Technology

Encapsulation is enclosing solids or liquids in a thinly veiled and transparent enclosure. Most of the time, this enclosure is usually a gelatin membrane. This makes the capsule soft and elastic.

Manufacturers obtain the gelatin from the fibers of denatured collagen tissue. Collagen tissue is usually present in the skin, bones, or connective tissue of animals. (pigs in the case of paintballs)

Additionally, manufacturers add plasticizers that increase the paintball’s stability and make the gelatin easy to mold. To ensure a balance between the two components, there is a ratio they adhere to when incorporating them. Consequently, the paintball can only burst on impact and not for any other reason. Fascinating, right?

For the filler material, manufacturers use dye. An encapsulation machine puts dimples on two gelatin strips, then fills them with dye. The dimples represent half of a paintball, and the machine molds them together to form a paintball.

What Ingredients Make up The Dye?

The main ingredients that make up the dye in paintballs are food coloring, mineral oils, calcium, iodine, and polyethylene glycol (better known as PEG).

In as much as the ingredients are chemical, it doesn’t mean they are hazardous if you accidentally ingest them. That is because they are food grade. In addition to being food-grade, they are also not toxic, making them relatively safe for the environment.

The ingredients are also water-soluble. That means that the paintball will dissolve on contact with water. Water gets into the paintball through is permeable membrane where the hydrogen atoms bond with PEG to dissolve the paintball.

Why Not Use Oil as a Filler for the Paintball?

Although there is a remote possibility that old based fills could be feasible, most manufacturers give them a wide berth. That’s because oil would be quite challenging to wash off clothes. Also, oil isn’t an environment-friendly substance. You don’t want issues with environmental agencies for using oil-based fills.

Are Paintballs Safe to Eat?

Being made of safe, non-toxic material, paintballs are safe to eat. However, it is not advisable to consume them since they can lead to dehydration.

Do Paintballs Hurt?

Yes, they do. That is why you should wear protective gear whenever you are playing paintball.

Do Paintballs Dissolve?

Yes, they do. Paintballs are actually water-soluble, so you don’t need many struggles cleaning the paint off your clothes.

Do All Paintball Guns Use the Same Paintballs?

No, they don’t. Paintball guns have different marker sizes to accommodate different paintball sizes. Ensure that you confirm the sizing of your marker before purchasing the paintballs.

Final Thoughts

Granted, you enjoy a sport, knowing everything about it will come naturally. That is why it is acceptable for one to wonder what the composition of a paintball could be.

Now you can enjoy the game safe knowing that the components that make up a paintball will be safe for you and the environment. Grab your gear and head out to that paintball game you couldn’t wait to get to.

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