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.”
Innovation Award of the United Nations Environment Programme for PhD Student from ZMT
22.03.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
ERC Project set to boost application of adhesive structures
19.03.2018 | INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
22.05.2018 | Life Sciences
22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences