Swix: A Perfect Wax for Every Condition

FasterSkierJanuary 18, 20112

Glide Waxes: Minimizing Dry and Wet Friction

The purpose of glide wax is to reduce the friction between ski and snow. This friction approaches pure dry friction at extremely cold temperatures and approaches pure wet friction at extremely warm temperatures but is always at some intricate and every changing combination of both dry and wet friction. The ideal wax compound for each snow condition must feature a perfect mixture dry friction “hard wax” snow crystal penetration resistance properties and wet friction “soft wax” lubrication and moisture management qualities.

Dry friction minimization is the overriding concern at very cold temperatures (below -10°C) because the snow-ski interface is primarily defined by dry friction caused by penetration and high rolling resistance of cold, sharp, hard, dry, snow crystals. Dry friction minimization is accomplished with hard “long chain” wax compounds that resist snow crystal penetration.  Wet friction minimization is the primary concern at very warm temperatures (exceeding -3°C) because a suction producing high contact area water film is present between the ski and the wet snow crystals. Wet friction minimization is achieved with soft “short chain” wax compounds that are highly water repellent and lubricating allowing the water film to bead up and the ski to roll over the rounded wet snow crystals. A complex and rapidly changing combination of both dry and wet friction exists at intermediate freezing temperatures (-3°C to -10°C) based on temperature, relative humidity, water content, and snow crystal type. Under these conditions the perfect combination of wet and dry friction minimization is required.

Swix’s petrochemical engineers have created the comprehensive Cera Nova glide wax system. This complete wax matrix provides 6 perfectly mixed wax hardness’s created for each snow crystal temp/type and 5 grades of increasing lubrication at each hardness grade. Only the Cera Nova system provides A Perfect Wax for Each Snow Condition.

Cera Nova Hardness Numbers: 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10: Dry Friction vs. Wet Friction

The most important aspect in a glide wax is its specific mixture of compounds to decrease Dry and Wet friction. Swix classifies this through its wax hardness classification 3-10.  Number 3 waxes are Swix’s hardest and are engineered to minimize dry friction by shearing from the base when they meet sharp penetrating snow crystals. Number 10 waxes are the softest and engineered to minimize wet friction with the greatest moisture management and round snow crystal lubrication properties. Between 3 and 10 Swix engineers have carefully crafted the ideal mixtures of hardness and moisture management/lubrication management capabilities for each temperature and snow condition.

Cera Nova Categories: CH, LF, HF, HFBW, Cera F: Increased lubrication without sacrificing hardness.

Swix’s Cera Nova waxes provide 5 Categories of waxes (CH, LF, HF, HFBW, Cera F) at most hardness levels that increase lubricating, moisture management, and dirt resistance capabilities without decreasing, and sometimes increasing, its dry friction (hardness) attributes. They accomplish this through the addition of specific advanced ingredients including dry lubricants, fluorocarbon compounds and 100% Fluorocarbon waxes.

CH: 100% High Performance Hydrocarbon waxes are used as the building blocks of the Cera Nova matrix. They can be used as economical training and even racing waxes. The coldest waxes perform very well alone in dry low humidity conditions and at warm temps the CH line can be used as a base layer for Cera F.

LF: These waxes have a lower percentage of low melt point fluoro additives than Swix HF waxes. The addition of the negatively charged Fluorine atoms allow the LF line to have much greater moisture management and lubricative capabilities than the comparable hardness in the CH line. They can also be used in racing with Cera F as a final layer or alone at low temps and low to medium humidity.

HF: These have a very high percentage of a low-melt point fluorocarbon additive. With the increase in Fluorine atoms the wax gains a lower the coefficient of friction while increasing both moisture management and dirt resistance. HF waxes are excellent when used alone, but ideal when used in combination with Cera F as an over layer. The more moisture the more you want HF.

HFBW: HF BlackWolf adds specific dry lubricants with great compression strength to resist penetration and low shear strength to make them slippery. Dry lubricants help when snow is dirty, coarse grained or abrasive man-made snow.

Cera F: FC 100% Fluorocarbon wax over-layers. They gain their superb moisture management and lubrication properties from the extremely negatively charged Fluorine atoms that repel the like negative charge of the oxygen in water and in dirt.  Thus FC’s repel free water and dirt. FC’s decrease the surface tension and surface area of water. The more H20 present the more FC’s will decrease friction.  Cera F also comes in a complete range of hardness’s to match snow crystals. With the shortest softest chains best managing the moistest, roundest crystals and the longer harder chains managing colder harder but still high humidity crystals. FC’s must be applied to an under-layer of the appropriate hardness.

Look for updates at www.SwixRacing.us and SwixNordic on Facebook.

Only Swix’s Cera Nova wax matrix takes the guesswork out of waxing by creating a perfect wax for each snow condition.


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  • GO

    January 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Is combining CH waxes such as Purple and Blue worthwhile? Will that extend the wax range or just slow the skis down if it does not warm up enough?

  • Chris Hall

    January 13, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Hi GO,

    It is not necessary to combine Swix glide waxes and it does not extend the range of the waxes when you combine them. Rather, it actually decreases the range of glide wax if you combine or mix them.
    For example, if you combined CH7(purple) with CH6(blue), the combination would create a wax that no longer has a warmer top end temperature of 28F, because you have added the harder and colder CH6, AND also does not have colder bottom end temperature of 10F, because you have added the warmer and softer CH7.
    In short, mixing any Swix Glide waxes, whether they are CH, LF, HF or Cera F waxes does not increase or extend the range of the waxes, it limits the range of the waxes.

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