WSU shreds ski gear, makes building supplies | Weird
What is ski equipment used for when it is no longer safe to use on the mountain?
Washington State professor Dr. Karl Englund of the composite engineering center and his students are looking to find a solution to that problem. The center grinds up old skis and snowboards, boots and helmets and are working to turn them into other products.
Englund said in a news release that since ski gear is built to be tough, working to re-appropriate the materials can be difficult.
“There are different types of polymers in there that all have different attributes, that have different processing requirements and a lot of them don't blend together very well,” Englund said in a news release. “Thus it becomes more of an economic hurdle to get these things into a usable material again.”
Right now, the program is turning the ground up gear into construction materials, like particleboard.
Beyond producing new materials, the group has to navigate the additional obstacle of marketing the products.
“We are always dealing with a lot of different commercial, industrial clients and that's always the final item, you know, is 'well, can you make money out of this,' ” he said. “And so, we're very familiar with that and, yeah, we can make a product out of it. It's just, are you going to be able to sell it?”
For more info on the project, visit the group's website.