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Category: Athletics

How Polyurethane Transformed Winter Sports

Elite athletes from around the world have dreams of out-performing the competition and achieving lasting glory. But today’s super-human feats of speed, grace and skill owe a debt to the advances in chemistry that have transformed winter sporting equipment.

For example, early waterproof fabrics were made of cumbersome, heavy rubber. Now, athletes enjoy lightweight nylon and polyurethane fibers that repel snow and sleet while still allowing moisture to evaporate.

Skis once made of wood, metal and leather are now made with a polyurethane core and synthetic fiber coatings that increase strength, minimize weight and reduce vibrations for a smoother ride.

As advances in equipment have enabled ever more daring sports — like snowboarding and aerial skiing — polyurethane has played a role in some protective equipment, like helmets, as well.