Biocomposite snowboard uses flax fabric
By Barry Copping
Posted 30 July 2012
Flax composite performs at least as well as conventional alternatives
Magine Snowboards and Skis of Newfoundland, Canada has developed a biocomposite snowboard using Biotex flax fabric from Chesterfield-based Composites Evolution.
The novel construction includes a wooden laminate core sandwiched between two layers of Biotex, and top and bottom finishing layers, all bonded together using an “eco-epoxy” resin system derived from 60% soy material. Composites Evolution sources its flax from France and Belgium, which grow the highest quality material.
Magine was looking to develop a product in keeping with its core values – freedom of expression, good times and support of the snow sports community – while differentiating the company in the marketplace.
Magine had been working towards a bio-fibre composite snowboard through a working partnership with the Composites Innovation Center in Winnipeg (CIC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the University of Manitoba (UoM). It was through this relationship that Magine was introduced to Composites Evolution at the end of 2011.
Steve Wheeler of Magine explains: "The snowboarding community is very conscious o sustainability issues because of the intimate connection with our environment which the sport gives us. On a larger scale, we are driven by the detrimental effect of global warming on the sport. We looked to do our bit through developing a more sustainable snowboard, while maintaining the build quality and ride characteristics we all enjoy and love."
After research and testing with the help of CIC, NSERC and UoM, Magine selected Biotex for its suit able properties. Prototypes were tested in house, developing a flex profile for comparison with those of current models. The snowboard was tested on snow at a ski hill local to Magine in Western Newfoundland after six months of development. Wheeler says: "The initial test was so successful that our team rider, Josh Keough, didn’t want to give up the prototype.
"The bio-fibre snowboard responds, flexes and edges well. Its flex pattern and light weight make its performance in grinds and aerial manoeuvres very comparable to that of freestyle snowboards. for. It stands above many fibreglass and basalt fibre composite snowboards on the market as a more sustainable product."
Magine uses a clear top sheet that “allows the natural look of the flax fibre weaves and the wood core to create a raw, earthy, aesthetic product, designed to promote sustainability and demonstrate our commitment to our customers' values. Magine expect to offer a line of bio-fibre snowboards during the 2012-2013 snowboard season.
Brendon Weager, managing director of Composites Evolution, comments: “With this biocomposite snowboard, Magine has successfully harnessed the performance, sustainability and aesthetics of flax fibre. We look forward to supporting Magine in the launch of this novel and exciting product.”
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