At the 2018 Pyeong Chang Winter Olympic, Nigeria became the first ever African Bobsled and Skeleton competitors. They joined Jamaica’s women bobsledders, who joined their male counterparts, who debuted thirty years ago. Why is that so amazing? Well, of course, they all come from regions that never see snow. Countries that are used to snow, such as Canada, Switzerland, Norway, and people who live in the northern regions of the U.S. usually dominate sledding and other winter sports. They can train.
The plastics industry is attempting to level the playing field. Engineers have succeeded in developing ice rinks with plastic polymers. But, for sledding and eventually perhaps other sports such as skiing and snowboarding, they’d need to create long, sloping tracks, ones that can allow sleds to speed in in excess of 75 mph and in a cost effective manner.
Jan-Anders Månsson, a professor in materials and chemical engineering and director of Purdue University’s Composites Manufacturing and Simulation Center, has dedicated the past several years studying a high-density plastic called “ultrahigh-molecular-weight” polyethylene. The plastic could eventually replace ice as the track surface for Olympic sledding sports. In theory, an artificial track misted with water could nearly copycat the friction required for sledding.
His ideas are sound. Ice lined tracks are costly. Such is why only sixteen exist. For the 2006 Turin Olympics, it cost $100 million to build the sledding track and it currently costs $1 million yearly to maintain it. A plastic track, on the other hand, would only cost about $5 million to build and even less to maintain, even in a warm area.
Manson came to Purdue in 2016, so he hasn’t been able to fund building a track. Plans to build one for the 2020 Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne were, unfortunately, abandoned. So, until he can, he won’t be able to level the playing field.
Since 1998, Ecomass Technologies has provided state-of-the-art solutions through advanced composite materials, engineered thermoplastic composite materials, high density plastics, high density polymers, and gamma ray shielding. It has worked with government and commercial customers to overcome physical property and material challenges and surpass application needs.
Ecomass’ focuses on the material challenges and provides original equipment manufacturers and material processors the innovative freedom to focus on form and function. It strives to provide its customers with the highest performing, lowest cost materials, and thus, empowers them to produce the finest parts possible, which then allows them to compete in their respective markets.
Ecomass’ high gravity compounds are engineered to replace traditional materials and have been used as a substitute for lead, aluminum, steel, stainless steel, brass, bronze, copper, and other metals in the following applications:
o to replace lead projectiles with nontoxic frangible projectiles as training ammunition for military and law enforcement personnel.
o to shield -ray and gamma ray sources in medical and industrial devices.
o as a Vibration damping material in the automotive and sporting goods industries.
o to balance weights and reduce the loads to which a part is exposed, thereby increasing its service life.
These are really just a few examples of what Ecomass industries’ compounds can do. They can truly “level playing fields!”
All Ecomass Compounds meet the EU RoHS Directive, are 100% lead free, do not contain any U.S. EPA toxic or hazardous materials, and comply with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act.
See Ecomass’ website to learn more about its compounds, products, and services and/or fill out its RFQ form to learn how it can develop and deliver a solution to satisfy your needs.