Engineering Gold

Professor Peter Styring designs some self-lubricating skis While watching some kids liberally smearing their skis with all kinds of substances, from vegetable oil to washing up liquid, Professor Peter Styring had one of those ‘What if?’ moments. Peter is a chemical engineer and has devoted much of his working life to designing systems in which liquids flow continually. Therefore he was exactly the right man to design a self-lubricating ski.

Peter’s first attempts proved the idea was possible and he found himself going downhill unexpectedly quickly. But nobody was going to invest in skis that hadn’t been thoroughly tested, so some serious lab work was required. Over 500 formulations were tried before Peter hit upon the perfect lubricant. And a good deal of monotonous testing with a plank and a lab jack were required before Peter could take his idea to the big ski companies.

Further testing in real Alpine conditions looks good and Peter is confident that the first skier to use his system in the Olympics will win gold!

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