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Snowboard from Magine

Snowboard from Magine Snowboards have developed a sustainable snowboard from a combination of innovative biomaterials including highly aligned flax fibres and an epoxy resin made from soybean oil. The novel construction includes a wooden laminate core, sandwiched between two layers of Biotex flax fabric from Composites Evolution (Bridge Way, Chesterfield, UK), and a top and bottom plastic layer, all bonded together using an eco-epoxy resin from EcoPoxy Systems. Magine, who are based in Port au Port East, Newfoundland, Canada, were looking to develop a product in keeping with their core values - freedom of expression, good times and support of the snow sports community - whilst differentiating themselves in the marketplace. Steve Wheeler of Magine explains that “Our community is very environmentally conscious where snowboarders are inherently connected with their environment through the sport. On a larger level, global warming and its detriment to the sport also drives us. Therefore, we looked to do our part through developing a more sustainable snowboard, while maintaining the same quality and ride characteristics we all love and enjoy.” Development Magine began developing a biocomposite snowboard in 2011 through a working partnership with the Composite Innovation Center in Winnipeg (CIC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the University of Winnipeg (UoW). It was through this relationship that Magine was introduced to a number of suppliers of natural fibres and bioresins suitable for producing lightweight, sustainable composite products. After extensive testing and research with the help of CIC, NSERC and UoW, Magine selected Biotex flax and EcoPoxy resin for their favourable processing and performance. Flax Fibre Natural fibres such as flax have similar reinforcing properties to glass fibres but at significantly lower weight and, in addition, they provide excellent vibration damping performance, making them particularly advantageous in sporting applications. Magine tested a number of flax reinforcements and chose Biotex due to its highly aligned, twistless construction which provides better mechanical performance and good wet-out. A range of aligned reinforcements are available from Composites Evolution including woven and non-crimp unidirectional and multiaxial fabrics, and for this product Magine settled on a 2x2 twill weave for its good handling, mechanical performance and aesthetics. 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 their commitment to their customers‘ values. 36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/12] Vol. 7

Natural Fibre Composites flax and soy Eco-Epoxy Resin Magine currently use a grade of EcoPoxy that contains 60% soybased material and a standard hardener system, although their aim is to switch to a 100% bio-derived version as soon as possible to reduce environmental impact even further. Overall it is reported that the eco-epoxy performs well, having comparable modulus and strength to conventional resins in both tension and bending. During the manufacturing process Magine has found that the eco resin is significantly less harmful to handle, with a considerable reduction in harmful odours resulting in less reliance on respirators during the layup process. Curing times and viscosity are also similar to non-ecological products. Wheeler says “our customers appreciate that we incorporate sustainable materials into our snowboards and our workers appreciate a safer workplace. As we continue to develop new ecologically-based products and grow our partnerships with manufacturers of sustainable materials, we add our dollars to the greater green economy and help it develop higher quality products at lower cost, thereby making them more accessible.” Testing Prototypes were tested in house, developing a flex profile and comparing to current models and, after six months of development, the snowboard was finally tested on snow, at a local ski hill in Western Newfoundland. “The initial test was so successful that our team rider – Josh Keough – didn’t want to give up the prototype“ Wheeler explained. “The bio-fibre snowboard responds, flexes and edges well. Its flex pattern and light-weight make it very comparable to freestyle snowboards for grinds and aerial manoeuvres. With the incorporation of the bio-fibre and resin, it stands above many snowboards on the market as a more sustainable product compared to fibreglass and basalt composite snowboards.“ Product Launch Having successfully completed the development and testing phases, Magine expect to offer a line of biocomposite 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 and aesthetics of flax fibre, and, by combining the flax with an eco-resin, they have created a truly sustainable composite product. We look forward to supporting them in the launch of this novel and exciting product.” bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/12] Vol. 7 37

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