Snowboard Base Material
(P-tex, IsoSpeed, Durasurf)
offers IsoSpeed sintered base material, specially made for us in Austria by
IsoSport, a top european ski and snowboard material manufacturer.
Snowboard and ski bases
are produced from ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, a dense, abrasion
resistant thermoplastic with low friction properites. Base material grades
vary slightly in their density and additives, but all are capable of absorbing
wax, and differ from regular UHMW because they are specially treated for bonding
with epoxy resin. P-tex, Isospeed, and Durasurf are the 3 main brand names
in the industry, and all are high quality parts, used by most major manufacturers.
Base material is generally
of two types - Extruded and Sintered. Extruded bases are made from polyethylene
pellets melted down then forced under pressure through a machine which gauges
the thickness of the finished material. Extruded base material is cheaper,
less abrasion resistant, and tends to hold less wax, and is thus generally
slower than a properly structured and waxed sintered base. Extruded base (when
not colored) exhibits better clarity than sintered material, offering better
graphic resolution when silkscreened, although graphics on sintered material
sometimes look more vibrant when they are sublimated. Extruded base will not
stand up to the temperatures required for sublimation and is not suitable
for pre-preg lamination due to the high temperatures required.
Sintering involves crushing
polyethylene pellets together under high pressure. This causes them to melt
together and fuse, and the resulting sintered material is generally of higher
molecular mass and exhibits longer, more uniform molecular chains than extruded
material. Sintered UHMW as a rule has better wax absorbtion characteristics,
and ultimately better hydorphobic (water resistant) properties as a result.
Graphite and electra bases contain graphite additives and cross linking agents
added with the pellets during manufacturing. Graphite does several things
- it hardens the plastic, decreases the friction coefficient and conducts
static electricity - all helping to prevent the board sticking to the snow.
Sintered material is suitable for both screen printing and sublimation.