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In Deep

St. Croix in partnership with world’s strongest material provider


St. Croix Rods has announced a partnership with MITO Material Solutions that will make its rods lighter and stronger by using the strongest and stiffest material known to man.

Graphene is a honeycomb layer of carbon that is harder than diamond yet more elastic than rubber, tougher than steel yet lighter than aluminium, says the US rod maker.

Discovered by UK scientists in 2003, graphene is used in sporting products, racing cars, electronics, textiles and other applications. And although a small amount of graphene is already used by a handful of fly rod suppliers, St. Croix says it now has the exclusive rights to use it in a more effective way.

“MITO doesn’t make graphene,” explained Haley Marie Keith, CEO of MITO. “We functionalise it so manufacturers themselves can incorporate the material and its significant benefits into their products. They don’t have to rely on third party suppliers or drastically change their manufacturing processes.”

MITO adds other elements to the graphene to enhance its strength-to-weight ratio and improve its bonding to the host matrix material. St. Croix is using the technology by applying it to its prepreg rod-building materials in house.

“The MITO product is compatible with any carbon or glass material we want to use,” said Jason Brunner, St. Croix’s Vice President of Research and Development. “That’s important because many of our rod blank designs contain multiple materials.

“Even more important is that MITO’s formula ensures that the graphene concentrations are very evenly dispersed, much more so than the commercially available resins that contain graphene. That’s critical because there is a very fine line between too much and too little graphene.

“MITO offers the ideal graphene product that meshes perfectly with our manufacturing processes and allows us to maximise the benefits in our fly rod designs.”

St. Croix’s Fly Fishing Brand Manager, Tom Larimer, said that the material can be harnessed in many ways. “When we can control where and how the graphene is applied in the lay-up – as the MITO product allows us to do – we can dramatically improve the performance of any specific rod.

“We’re seeing dramatically quicker recovery times, which allows casters to generate higher line speeds and increase the stability of their loops. Our graphene-enhanced fly rods also control and reduce twist.”

Anglers can experience the benefits of MITO graphene technology when St. Croix’s all-new EVOS and EVOS Salt series become available from November 1st.

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