Airdate: Nov 24, 2008
Scientist: Paul Schmitt
KSC Skateboard - Waffled
A skateboard manufacturer has found added strength in a corrugated wood design.
music; ambience skateboard park
â€œIt makes the board lighter because we remove material. We made the skateboard thicker so it has more structural mass to it.â€
One of the Holy Grails of skateboarding is designing a board with enough â€œpop,â€ or spring, to do tricks, and tough enough to handle the punishing physical demands of skateboarding. Iâ€™m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Schmitt: â€œSo, this is a board we made here in the workshop here at the house, what, two or three months ago?â€
Wray: â€œAbout. And Iâ€™ve been ridinâ€™ it that long.â€
Schmitt: â€œYouâ€™ve been riding it that long. Killer.â€
Thatâ€™s skateboard designer and manufacturer Paul Schmitt talking with pro skateboarder Jeremy Wray. The board theyâ€™re discussing has a new design, with air spaces inside like corrugated cardboard. Most skateboards are made of seven layers of plywood with no air spaces.
Schmitt: â€œSo, howâ€™s the board held up for you?â€
Wray: â€œSurprisingly good. Yeah.â€
Schmitt: â€œGood pop?â€
Wray: â€œThis one has.â€
Schmitt: â€œYou knowdo you know why the popâ€™s lasted?â€
Wray: â€œWhy is that?â€
Schmitt: â€œDid you notice itâ€™s thicker than a regular board?â€
Schmitt: â€œItâ€™s got air cavities in it. Itâ€™s got waffled wood in it. But what happens there, because of the air channels in there and the way the wood is waffled inside those channels, it dissipates energy. So, imagine when you land a trick and all this energy goes through your trucks, your wheels, into your board.â€
Schmitt: â€œWhen you break a skateboardâ€™s when the energy stop moving. So, what happens is it hits those hollow air cavities, and it dissipates the energy. The energy doesnâ€™t come out of that hollow air cavity the same as it went in.â€
Schmitt: â€œIn the seven ply, you have the same density through the whole thing. So that density carries the energy until finally it dissipates out, you know, flexes, the board, hopefully doesnâ€™t break it, you know. So, thatâ€™s why this board has lasted so long for you.â€
Jeremy: â€œAll right.â€
Paul Schmitt is one of the participating scientists and engineers in the Kidsâ€™ Science Chalenge, a nationwide competition for third to sixth graders. Check out kidsciencechallenge.com. Pulse of the Planetâ€™s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation.