Why Waxes Contain Graphite
Graphite for Indoors
DataWax produce indoor waxes that are low fluoro and contain graphite. These long lasting waxes are ideal for regular trips to the snow dome for general skiing and boarding. Why do I need special indoor wax? Indoor Snow has unique qualities;
• It is generally kept at -6C to - 2C. This is relatively warm but abrasive.
• Hardners are often added to make the snow -particularly in race conditions more resistant to wear.
• There is frequently dust or other contaminants in the snow (dust or from other people’s clothing, fumes from nearby food outlets etc.)
• Static electricity is higher on indoor snow.
This means a special wax that is resistant to wear, soft enough to be fast, and can cope with the dry friction caused by static electricity, dust and other contaminants. So there are three types of friction we need to look at; wet, dry and static.
Fun Fact: Skis and boards do not run on the snow! They run on a very fine layer of water caused by the melting effect of the ski on the snow caused by 'wet' friction. A correct hardness of wax maximises the speed by optimising the thickness of this micro film of water. Fluoro content ensures maximum glide.
'Dry' friction is easy to understand - it occurs when you rub your hands together, it appears when the ski base rubs against the hard snow crystals and other solids in the snow. All paraffin based waxes are excellent at reducing this friction - provided the wax is harder than the snow crystals.
However foreign material in indoor snow also needs dry lubrication – hence the need for a pressure lubrication, the most common of these is graphite (like the “lead” in a pencil). This helps the ski slide over the hard solid particles in the snow.
Snow crystals have a very weak magnetic field and this is increased in indoor snow creating 'Static Electricity' Friction. Static is also caused by dust and other impurities in the snow which can be brought in from people, or produced from the diesel as a byproduct of the grooming machine.
To Summarise Indoor waxes need to be abrasion resistant, fast, temperature specific, and contain an anti-static component, such as graphite, in order to make them effective.