Two adventurers have set off on a 15-month mission to become the first explorers to circumnavigate Greenland by any method of ground transportation. The pair is making the trek the old-fashioned way — via dog sled and kayak.
However, the explorers are using an unusual plastic on the trip — Dyneon THV fluorothermoplastic terpolymer — because its flexibility and optical clarity can stand up to the minus 22° F temperatures.
Home to polar bears and penguins, Greenland has roughly 733,560 square miles of ice that is almost 2 miles thick.
The explorers, Lonnie Dupre of Grand Marais, Minn., and John Hoelscher of Yeppoon, Australia, started the expedition May 15.
On the first half of the journey, their equipment includes a catamaran kayak — essentially two kayaks joined with a platform to keep them stable in iceberg-infested waters. The kayak sails feature a window made of THV, which allows the adventurers to use the wind to propel and navigate their craft more easily.
Dyneon THV is a terpolymer of tetrafluoroethylene, hexafluoropropylene and vinylidene fluoride.
When they break camp for the night, the pair uses a custom-designed tent that also features a Dyneon THV window.
``The window in the tent will allow us to keep an eye on the dogs, each other, shifts in the ice and, most importantly, polar bears,'' Dupre said. ``Its flexibility also allows for compactability, resulting in easy transport.''
The team plans to travel seven to 12 hours, and cover an average of 22 miles, per day. To keep the rest of the world informed of their progress, they are giving updates and sending digital photographs from the trail using a laptop computer, satellite communications and Internet information-transfer capabilities.
Dyneon Corp. (Booth S737), based in St. Paul, Minn., is a joint venture of Hoechst Corp. of Warren, N.J., and 3M Corp. of St. Paul. At its NPE booth, the company features a prototype of the tent used by the explorers, and photos of the trip so far.
Dyneon officials believe the expedition opens the door to future Dyneon THV applications, including map cases, boat covers and fish house accessories.
Dyneon develops and markets fluoroelastomers, fluoropolymers and compounds and related products, such as additives for plastic and rubber processing.