Why use Nitinol Blades?
The skate industry recognizes the areas for advancement in skate blade technology: lightness, flexibility/responsiveness, and eliminating the need to frequently resharpen blades. Various portions of the industry have addressed single aspects.
Further testing will verify the extraordinary properties of Nitinol as applied to a skate blade—flexibility, edge durability, and shock absorbency—characteristics matched by no other material used for skate blades. A skate blade with these qualities would represent a major breakthrough and would benefit all skaters. Triumph is the first company to develop a skate blade that combines all of the features and advantages desired by both professional and amateur skaters.
The Triumph skate blades provide advancements in all of these areas with a single product that works seamlessly with existing, market-leading skate holder designs and provides superior performance.
GREATER EDGE DURABILITY
The properties inherent in Nitinol will provide skaters with a more durable edge than the current materials in use for skate blades. Testing has shown that the Nitinol blades maintain their edge an average of 6 times longer than traditional blades. In order for steel blades to maintain their edges, they must be processed to a high Rockwell hardness. This makes the blades stiff, inflexible, and prone to breakage. Also, the carbon used to increase the hardness in steel promotes corrosion—a key factor in edge loss. Nitinol is a shape memory intermetallic alloy that is erosion resistant and completely non-corrosive, making the Nitinol blades highly durable. They maintain their edge without a high Rockwell hardness and without sacrificing flexibility.
The Nitinol blade provides skaters with a consistent edge that will greatly reduce the instances of lost edges, as the edge quality will not degrade over the course of a game. Equipment managers often need to sharpen steel blades between periods. Nitinol blade edges will not degrade over the course of a game nor will they need sharpening between periods. Additionally, the Nitinol skate blades greatly reduce the amount of chatter when stopping abruptly as compared to steel blades. The reduced chatter allows for shorter, sharper stops.
Nitinol skate blades can average between 14-22% lighter than steel blades. Since the Nitinol blades are sharpened less often and wear less quickly, the Nitinol blades can have 15% less exposed blade height. The combination of the Nitinol material—which is 14% lighter than steel—and the 15% reduction in exposed blade height provides a skate blade that is overall 22% lighter than steel blades.
REDUCTION OF FRICTION
Nitinol skate blades provide a lower coefficient of friction with the ice and reduces drag. This reduced friction allows the blade to run faster and more smoothly along the ice. Also, the reduced friction and drag allow the skater to maintain momentum while gliding and while coming out of turning maneuvers. Nitinol’s small particle size and the interlocking nature of the material provide the low coefficient of friction.
Nitinol provides a measure of flexibility to the skate blade without sacrificing durability. As a skater performs a turn, the torque attempts to bend the skate blade into the turn. Steel blades do not flex and fight against the torque forces. With the flexibility of the Nitinol blades, the blades accept the torque, and more of the edge remains in contact with the surface of the ice for a longer period of time. This added edge contact allows for sharper, quicker, more confident turns—much in the same manner that shaped skis help skiers perform better turns.
COMPLETE CORROSION RESISTANCE
Nitinol is entirely corrosion resistant and does not rust or pit. Corrosion is one of the main factors in edge degradation. Nitinol is used currently in a number of marine applications—including diving knives—to take advantage of the corrosion resistant properties of the metal. Skaters never will have to worry about pulling their skates out of the hockey bag and seeing them covered with rust—the edge gone.
SAVINGS OF TIME AND MONEY
For the organized team, Nitinol skate blades reduce the amount of time that equipment managers must spend on a daily basis sharpening blades. By reducing the frequency of needed sharpening, Nitinol blades save substantial amounts of the equipment manager’s time. From a monetary standpoint, Nitinol blades do not need to be replaced nearly as frequently as the steel blades.
For the amateur skater, Nitinol skate blades reduce the cost of ownership in a number of ways. By reducing the number of times a skater needs to sharpen their skates, the Nitinol blades reduce the costs associated with skate sharpening. From a non-monetary perspective, the Nitinol skate blades reduce the hassle factor and time spent having to bring the skates to a hockey shop for sharpening.
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