Investigation and customisation of snowboard performance characteristics for different riding styles

Clifton, P 2011, Investigation and customisation of snowboard performance characteristics for different riding styles, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Investigation and customisation of snowboard performance characteristics for different riding styles
Author(s) Clifton, P
Year 2011
Abstract The major aim of the research is to fully characterise the design of modern snowboards in terms of feel through identification and customisation of their on-snow performance characteristics. A comprehensive set of subjective performance parameters is formulated through a series of online surveys and interviews, which cover all facets of riding. The relative importance and optimal level of each of the parameters are determined for both freeride and freestyle snowboards. Nine expert snowboarders are used in this investigation to provide systematic on-snow ratings of the subjective parameters for three high-quality test snowboards that span these major riding styles.
The Quality Function Deployment method is utilised to link these subjective performance characteristics to 31 objective design parameters that completely define modern snowboards. Relevant data is obtained from the user surveys, interviews and on-snow tests, and the bending stiffness is identified as the most important objective parameter. An associated Market Opportunity Map is used to determine an innovation opportunity existing within the snowboard marketplace for a versatile model that performs well in both major riding styles. A versatility value is formulated in the research, indicating which design parameters are both crucial to the feel of snowboards and change markedly between freeride and freestyle designs. The results demonstrate that together with bending stiffness, torsional stiffness and camber also strongly affect the feel and performance between the major riding styles.
To enable the customisation of snowboard designs to fulfil any performance requirements, a general parametric model is developed. The model uses a discrete set of objective parameters together with user characteristics to predict the on-snow performance of the design. Two different performance prediction measures are implemented in the model. The first is a correlation based measure, which utilises individual Spearman ranked correlations between the objective design parameters and subjective performance parameters determined during the research. Conversely, the second is an exponent based performance measure that uses three key objective design attributes to estimate each subjective performance parameter. These performance measures are validated against the existing subjective and objective datasets, with a coefficient of determination generated for each expression.
An applied code is developed to predict the bending and torsional stiffness properties for any snowboard sandwich composite structure that utilises common fabric configurations. The model also provides an estimation of the total mass, as well as the camber change for a discrete temperature differential. A simple but effective validation of the code is undertaken through the manufacture and static testing of three sandwich composite samples of different structure and geometry. Utilising the snowboard performance prediction model, an optimal feel design is generated in each of the major riding styles.
The final outcome of the investigation is the generation of guidelines for the customised design, manufacture and testing of modern snowboards. A table is developed which summarises this process, including the specification of all required inputs from the rider, together with the methods, analyses and information drawn from the current research.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Keyword(s) Snowboard design
Performance characteristics
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Created: Wed, 15 Jun 2011, 16:21:55 EST by Guy Aron
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