At 24 years old, Cyrus Schenck is a college dropout and the founder of a ski company — Renoun — that won a coveted gold prize at an international trade show in Munich, Germany, and may be on the cusp of taking the ski industry by storm.
Tall and lanky, with a quick smile and rapid fire speech that sometimes buries words in an avalanche of unintelligible syllables, Schenck followed an obsession at Clarkson University that took him out of the classroom and into a workshop to build a ski using so-called non-Newtonian material.
Sitting in a small room at the FairPoint hub of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies in downtown Burlington, where Renoun is based, Schenck pulls a fluorescent orange plug of the material from a small tin and begins stretching it with his hands, like pulling taffy. Or maybe Play-Doh on steroids.
Placing the orange lump on the table, Schenck slams his fist with a bang into the non-Newtonian blob, which instantly stiffens into rock-like hardness. Moments earlier the material had been dripping off his fingers.
http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/c66f3b59ee5ed5a485e32526a3621a0835cd5ca7/c=278-0-4651-3280&r=x383&c=540x380/local/-/media/Burlington/2015/04/08/B9316820738Z.1_20150408171737_000_G2SAESCHK.1-0.jpg" alt="BUR20150408renoun3" width="229" height="159" />Schenck was first exposed to non-Newtonian material in a classroom at Clarkson, where he was majoring in aeronautical engineering. He found himself captivated by the properties being described on the screen in class. Non-Newtonian material just didn’t act like anything else.
“Everything in the world has a linear stress/strain relationship,” Schenck said. “If you hit it with 1, it’s going to indent at 2. If you hit it at 2, it’s going to indent at 4 — a straight line. Except for this stuff.”