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Tecnología para fabricar colchonetas con tensiones reducidas para aplicación en deportes y cojines de seguridad


Oferta Tecnológica
Una pyme británica ha diseñado una nueva estructura para colchonetas con aplicación en deportes y sistemas anticaída con el fin de reducir lesiones. Gracias al control dinámico del flujo de aire y presiones en amortiguadores de aire, la colchoneta reduce lesiones en deportes y otras aplicaciones de seguridad relacionadas. La empresa está interesada en licenciar la tecnología a fabricantes de equipamiento deportivo y productos de seguridad en el lugar de trabajo y busca universidades con el fin de establecer acuerdos de servicio para estudiar la biomecánica del sistema.


Technology for manufacturing landing mats with reduced peak stress for sports and safety-cushion applications
A UK SME has designed a new structure for landing mats with application in sports and in fall arrest systems to reduce injuries. By dynamically controlling the airflow and pressures in air-springs, the mat can reduce injuries in gymnastics and in other safety related applications. They would like to license the technology to sports equipment and/or workplace safety product manufacturers and work with universities under a services agreement, primarily to study the system biomechanics.
Established in 1995, this UK, Buckinghamshire company´s main activity has been developing innovative golf technologies and licensing these technologies to enterprises in the UK and USA. Their newest venture is focused on reducing impact forces in gymnastics competition landing mats and in inflatable landing platforms.

How it works: The structure developed by the SME consists of an area-elastic top layer to distribute impact force and an array of interconnected air-springs within an overall air-sealed envelope. The area-elastic layer can be provided as a high density polyurethane foam (PU foam) or similar viscoelastic foam material. The PU foam layer is especially suited to gymnastics landing mats. For fall arresters, the top layer is preferably a self-contained inflatable section above the air-spring cells but inflated to a higher pressure for enhanced stiffness. At impact, the air-springs in the impact zone compress and vent into an air distribution manifold via simple flap valve devices. The flap valves control the rate of airflow into the manifold and the rate of reverse flow from the manifold back into the air-springs. The airflow is controlled to minimise peak deceleration forces and to provide large force-displacement hysteresis, which minimises rebound.

Research at Loughborough University provides useful data on the typical performance of multi-layered foam mats currently used in gymnastics competitions (Mills, C., Pain, M. T. G. -Y- Yeadon, M. R. (2006). Modelling a viscoelastic gymnastics landing mat during impact. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 22, 103-111.) A rigid 24 kg impactor replicates the initial forces produced by a gymnast when landing on the mat. This gives a credible means of modelling and comparing performance. Mathcad models of airflow and pressure within the mat determine the optimum flow-control parameters.
The pressure-time plots in Figure 1 show how the initial differential pressure between the air-springs and manifold and the delayed increase in the manifold pressure combine to hold the air-spring pressure nearly constant throughout most of the deceleration phase.
Figure 2 compares real data from a conventional landing mat with simulated data from the new flow-controlled mat.
Figure 3 is an example of hybrid construction operating at atmospheric pressure. The air-springs are filled with low density open-cell foam so that the mat is self-inflating. Other designs include entirely inflatable versions with large deformation operating depths. These are readily transportable for use as fall arresters in the construction industry or for rapid deployment in emergency rescue situations.

The SME seeks businesses in sports equipment and/or workplace safety industries to help design, manufacture and take the product to market under a licensing agreement. Involvement of academic and medical research institutions is also required under a services agreement to study effects on the musculoskeletal system to determine the risk of injury as a function of the landing forces. Independent blind testing of mats to establish gymnasts´ preferences should be undertaken.
Advantages and Innovations:
It is reported that around 60% of injuries in gymnastics occur on the lower extremities. A high proportion of these injuries can be attributed in part to the high peak forces that occur on landing.

The gymnastics version of the flow-controlled mat will reduce injuries sustained during dismounts by reducing these peak forces. This is clearly demonstrated in Figure 2. Under the same load conditions, the flow-controlled mat reduces peak force by almost 50%. In addition, the ´area under the curve´ for the flow-controlled mat is considerably less than that for the conventional multi-layer foam mat. This means that the total impulse is less and rebound is negligible; whereas rebound off the conventional mat is very high.

A second important use of the flow-controlled structure is for fall arrester platforms. Here, the characteristics of the flow-control system prove to be well suited to limiting impact forces on people with widely varying bodyweight.

Figure 4 shows the force-displacement characteristics of a landing platform designed to safely limit impact force for a 3 metre free-fall for bodyweight in the range 40 kg to 120 kg. The aim here is to limit the G-factor to less than 10. The G-factor is the ratio of impact force to bodyweight force.
Stage of Development:
Under development/lab tested
Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted
CommeR Statunts Regarding IPR Status:
PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) patent filed on 25/06/2015. Publication due January 2016.

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
Partners will be companies manufacturing (and distributing) sports/gymnastics equipment or fall arrest equipment who will help design, manufacture and commercialise the product. They will have access to professional gymnastics facilities.

Research organisations/universities are also needed to help measure the stress levels in mats and consider medical evidence to recommend upper limits. The SME would like to make contact with relevant experts to carry out the measurements once manufacturing possibility has been established.


Type and Size of Client:
Industry SME <= 10
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
02007018 Advanced Textile Materials