One Summer I took off to Washington to build skis and snowboards in a garage with a tiny startup called Project. Having just worked the whole previous year with carbon fiber and having just finished my Composite Materials course in college, I made the long drive North from California that Summer with a head full of ideas and theory, ready to apply what I had learned.
I showed up as with the intent to make something new and different; something that hadn't been done before by industry standards. My idea was to make a board whose internals catered to the stance of the rider - one design 'goofy' another design for 'regular'. I poured hours into Matlab working out the calculations. Would the team like my idea? Would it work at all? Would they at least let me try it out?
The result? A zippy 156cm board that utilizes bend-twist characteristics of uni-directional carbon fiber. From start to finish, I designed and spearheaded production on these prototype boards. I am still riding one today!
As an assignment in Cal Polys Composite Materials course we coded (in MATLAB) the ADB matrix of classic lamination theory for an arbitrary layup to determine the flexural properties of a composite material under load. The numerical results were used to solve various homework problems during the course period, but also applied to the layup of a ski or snowboard before being subjected to a load. This code was used to determine how flexible a ski would be before manufacturing, thus allowing Project Skis to calculate how much composite material to put into their product to achieve optimal performance. The code worked!
Classic Lamination Theory code in MATLAB