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.”
LandKlif: Changing Ecosystems
06.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
“Future of Composites in Transportation 2018”, JEC Innovation Award for hybrid roof bow
29.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine