InFlex™ flexible board facing system
Working in conjunction with Covestro, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, we have developed a revolutionary board system that integrates new materials and technology to reduce peak impact to make the game safer for players, while not impacting the pace of play.
Now commercially available, the new dasher board design is the first product that was designed in a unique collaboration among the Pittsburgh Penguins, Covestro (a global material science company), and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) called “Rethink the Rink.” This annual Make-a-thon project uses the technology innovation of CMU and its students combined with the high-tech material science expertise of Covestro engineers, and the game winning insight of the Pittsburgh Penguins, to advance the safety of the game of hockey.
The InFlex™ flexible board facing system has increased flexibility and movement with a new facing material, comprising Covestro’s Makrolon® polycarbonate sheeting over a nominal aluminum 6” frame that was modified to allow a polyurethane foam dampening element between new aluminum framing and the boards. This polyurethane foam was made with Covestro raw materials. The combination of sheeting, materials and framing allows the boards to flex when hit with mass but remain stiff when hit by pucks.
In other words, instead of hitting a solid steel framed wall, the newly designed boards absorb and disperse a portion of the impact when skated into by a player, but remain stiff when a puck makes contact.
The concept was prototyped and tested by using an automotive standard. Testing on the system showed significant increase in absorption on impact. The new dasher board prototype also showed up to 65% improvement in some of the key metrics of injury criterion such as acceleration and force. In comparison to the traditional steel frame design under the same impact characteristics there is a 150%-450% increase in deflection, which leads to energy absorption within the board system. This is a significant improvement and facilitates distribution of the impact velocity by 40-50 milliseconds.
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