Enterprise Europe Network

High-performance lubricant for winter sports - biodegradable, non-toxic and easy to use. A substitute for the critical fluorine ski waxes

Country of origin:
Country: 
SWITZERLAND
Opportunity:
External Id: 
TOCH20200708001
Published
10/07/2020
Last update
12/07/2021
Expiration date
13/01/2022

Keywords

Partner keyword: 
Coatings
Microassembly, nanoassembly
Biobased materials
Clean Production / Green Technologies
Sports and Leisure
Micro- and Nanotechnology related to Biological sciences
Sporting goods, hobby equipment and athletics clothes
Coatings and adhesives manufactures
Lubricants and functional fluids
Speciality/performance chemicals
Manufacture of paints, varnishes and similar coatings, printing ink and mastics
Engineering activities and related technical consultancy
Other research and experimental development on natural sciences and engineering
Other professional, scientific and technical activities n.e.c.
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Summary

Summary: 
Swiss company developed a sustainable "ski wax” based on indigo - a stable blue plant dye - hygienically and ecologically sound. The hard, oxidation-resistant sliding surface ensures minimal friction on ice, snow and water, low abrasion, minimal dirt absorption and long use. Commercial agreement with technical assistance and/or license agreement offered as intended for sale by specialist dealers to replace the fluorinated waxes banned by the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) next winter.

Description

Description: 

Background:
The basic substance of the sustainable ski wax is indigo, the oldest known stable blue plant dye. One isomer of the commercially available indigo mixtures, E-Indigo, is ecologically and hygienically harmless and fits in the concept of the circular economy. This patented innovation as a lubricant on ice, snow and water can be experimentally proven to form a supra-molecular, self-organized, electrically conductive, hard, abrasion-resistant, hydrophobic sliding surface with self-healing properties.

Substitute for banned fluorinated waxes:
E-Indigo is a substitute for the high-priced fluorinated high-performance waxes, which will be banned by the FIS (Fédération Internationale de Ski) as environmentally harmful from the 2020/21 winter season.

Experiences:
Practical experience as a ski wax replacement over 3 winters with many test persons and numerous field tests have shown the potential of E-Indigo as a high-performance lubricant. Important parameters seem to be the degree of purity of E-Indigo and its application-related microstructure.

Properties:
Due to the specific chemical bonds, indigo molecules can form clusters of different sizes with platelet structures at the nanometer level. In combination with suitable microstructures, superhydrophobic surfaces can be expected.
E-Indigo clusters are also easily miscible with ski waxes and polyethylene ski bases and form relatively strong bonds. These indigo clusters thus give the ski base or wax a greater hardness, increase the gliding properties, and reduce abrasion. Applications in other areas with sliding surfaces can be expected due to the special molecular indigo properties.
To minimize dynamic friction, an optimum E-Indigo coating on the sliding surface is necessary, which requires in-depth knowledge of the surface structure and an appropriately adapted application.

Cooperation:
The aim of a possible collaboration is to develop an evidence-based, competitive high-quality product in various fields of application with minimal impact on health and environment. The potential of the diverse and rather exclusive properties of E-Indigo for bionic-analogue, low-friction, hydrophobic, abrasion-resistant sliding surfaces is given according to the molecular characteristics.
The granting of licenses will be negotiated based on achieved results.
The organization of the cooperation can be taken over by the Swiss company. The necessary know-how is based on many years of experience in self-implemented and participation in development projects.

Advantages & innovations

Cooperation plus value: 
Unknown in tribology until it was patented: Indigo as a lubricant was unknown in tribology until it was patented from the Swiss inventors. The formation of sliding layers with supra-molecular, self-organizing, self-healing indigo structures is opening new areas of application. Hardness and abrasion resistance are usually desired properties for this purpose - they reduce the frequency of applications on the one hand and the release to the users and the environment on the other hand. High health and environmental requirements: As a product of plants (or nature identical), the product also meets high health and environmental requirements (circular economy – biological cycle), which have been proven experimentally. Compared to today's best but toxic ski waxes for wet snow, the fluorinated waxes, indigo is sustainable. The fluorinated waxes are banned by the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) from the winter season 20/21 for competitive sports. Practically all poly- or perfluorinated compounds (PFAS) are critically assessed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Europe, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA. The Swiss lubricant can be a substitute for these persistent fluorinated waxes. Glidability and Abrasion resistant: The very thin "flake nanostructures" formed by indigo can be adapted to the microstructures of the underlying surfaces and thus form meta-structures with new properties. For example, the abrasion resistance has made it possible that a single application of the Swiss lubricant was sufficient for 70 to 140 kilometres of cross-country skating skiing. Ageing: The glidability of the oxidation-resistant layer did not change measurably even after 9 months of summer storage in the air at room temperature.

Stage of development

Cooperation stage dev stage: 
Already on the market

Partner sought

Cooperation area: 
The specific area of activity of the partner: - Producer or distributor of ski wax - Producer of ski-sole coating - Trader under license or own brand The tasks to be performed by the partner sought: Commercial agreement with technical assistance: Distribution or/and Improvements of the properties of the product, its application. License agreement: Exchange of knowledge and data of the innovation of E-Indigo as a lubricant, as Trader under license or as own brand under license.

Type and size

Cooperation task: 
SME 11-50,SME <10,>500 MNE,251-500,SME 51-250,>500

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Cross-country skiing