How Graphite Affects Your Shredding Experience

Joshua Reddekopp for Unsplash

The standard snowboard construction includes several layers; the top sheet (where graphics are located), the fiberglass layers that sandwich the core (historically made up of laminated hardwood), the steel edge and the base layer. The base layer of the board is very important to the rider’s experience, because it is the part of the board that has contact with the snow and therefore controls the speed and smoothness of the ride.

Image by OES

The base of a snowboard is typically made of PTex (polyurethane plastic) that can be adjusted for its weight. A higher weight usually makes the board smoother and more durable. The base of a board can be extruded (melted then cut) or sintered (ground into powder and heat pressed into shape).
A sintered base can be difficult to repair, but it is more durable and most importantly faster.

Why is a sintered base faster? There are two main answers for this. First, the sintered base is more porous and therefore absorbs wax (and graphite wax) better. Secondly, the ground PTex can be mixed with graphite before it is shaped.

Why graphite? Graphite in the PTex base layer material or added to snowboard wax is conductive and helps dematerialize static charges that are created through the friction between the base and the snow. This reduces friction and makes the board slide across the snow faster. Graphite in the PTex also makes the sintered base material even more porous.

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