Tech snowboards was recently issued U.S. Patent number 5921564 for its Rib Tech Air Core
How did they invent the Air core? Lib Tech Designer and Patent chaser Mike Olson explains…
Lib Tech is the longest-running snowboard factory in the world. Over the last 23 years the staff has tested virtually every logical core material available. In the 1970s and 80s Lib Tech tested aviation-grade woods in multiple grain directions; urethane, styrene, P.V.C., and acrylic foams; plastic, aramid, and aluminum honeycomb; and a variety of other cores that allowed them to build boards at least one pound lighter than any other brand.
Now, at the end of the century, it’s finally a tougher battle with the competition to make the lightest, strongest snowboard.
Some wood species arguably feature the best overall properties for a snowboard core such as dampness, liveliness, and flex memory. But unlike foams or honeycombs there has been a limit to how light it can grow (Balsa at eight pounds per cubic foot).
So how did Lib Tech overcame the weight limits of wood? The trick was to encapsulate air inside the wood, thus lowering the core’s density while actually increasing the strength. It’s a bit like a linear wood honeycomb with 27 air channels. Each air channel has a thin fillet of epoxy lining the walls. These 54 fillets strengthen the wood from top to bottom while also acting as a moisture barrier.
After three years of testing and over 50,000 Air Cores in use, the durability statistics show a 30 percent increase in longevity over solid wood cores. Lib Tech attributes this partly to the air cores ability to compress and deflect much like a tire. The future possibilities are endless for different air channel configurations and densities.
For now, the company has it’s patent and is moving forward as it usually does.