Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ski slope knowledge transfer partnership wins awards

14.03.2008
The work between the University of Bradford and an artificial ski slope manufacturer has been impressing judges of regional and national award schemes.

West Yorkshire-based Briton Engineering Developments Ltd, who produce the ‘Snowflex’ artificial ski slope system, have been working with the University of Bradford in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to utilise the University’s expertise in polymer engineering and help them address issues with their product.

The partnership was one of nine partnerships selected to receive an award by Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, an organisation funded by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board and Europe's leading programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base.

In addition to that, the partnership also won a Yorkshire Forward ‘Innovators/08’ award in the Global Innovation category. The results of both awards were announced on Wednesday 5 March 2008.

Briton Engineering’s Snowflex system comprises a number of polymer components. The skier experiences it as a carpet-like surface and can dig the skis into it to steer, achieving an effect close to the real thing.

Beneath the surface is a layer of polymer foam, or the shock-pad, to absorb impacts and prevent injury. The ski-slope can include features such as jumps and is suitable for both skiing and snowboarding. Further realism is added by keeping the slope sprayed with water so that its frictional properties more closely resemble that of real snow.

Shaun Waddingham, Director of Briton Engineering, said: “The presence of jumps has ensured that some areas of the slope are subject to frequent and heavy impacts. This resulted, over time, in localised failure of the foam layer which fragmented and lost its energy-absorbing capability.

“Repairs were expensive, and downtime on the slope caused some loss of income to the slope operators.

“To address this problem, we linked with the University of Bradford’s School of Engineering, Design and Technology to form a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, financed partly by the Department for Trade and Industry.”

The project, which concluded in September 2006, was worth £115,000 of which just over £77,000 was contributed by the DTI. It was led by Shaun as Industrial Supervisor with Dr John Sweeney, an expert in Polymer Mechanics from the University, working with Mechanical Engineering expert Dr Simon Stewart as the KTP Associate.

Dr Sweeney said: “To find an improved shock-pad foam, a regime of accelerated testing was designed and set up within the Polymer Research Centre laboratories at Bradford.

“A programmable hydraulic testing machine was used to apply repeated impacts on the foams under conditions resembling those you would find in normal ski slope use, which involved soaking the test material with water during testing.

“A parallel set of tests was implemented at Briton using a custom-made testing rig. As a result, a much improved material was identified that is now used in all new installations, including a recently completed £1.7m project at Noeux-les-Mines in France.

“Before the development from the KTP, the company were less willing to contemplate installations outside the UK, where repair visits would have been prohibitively expensive. The new low-maintenance technology in the system brings many benefits, including increasing the range of potential sites across the globe.”

Oliver Tipper | alfa
Further information:
http://www.polyeng.com
http://www.bradford.ac.uk

More articles from Awards Funding:

nachricht Otto Hahn Medal for Jaime Agudo-Canalejo
21.06.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung

nachricht Call for nominations of outstanding catalysis researchers for the Otto Roelen Medal 2018
20.06.2017 | DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V.

All articles from Awards Funding >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>