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Nanyang Technological University's Institute for Sports Research (ISR) has set up an international consortium to develop innovative materials and process for sports products with Arkema, Chomarat, Babolat (tennis racquet maker ) and Topkey (bicycle manufacturer).
The new consortium, known as the Innovative Composites for Sports Products (I-Comp Sports), will benefit from ISR’s research and testing facilities housed at NTU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. It will also leverage ISR’s strong industry links, including NTU’s plans to invest S$3 million in specialised machinery for manufacturing composite materials using an advanced method known as automated fibre placement.The consortium will jointly develop new carbon composites materials, parts design and manufacturing technology for sports products such as racquets and bicycle frames.NTU Provost Prof Freddy Boey said the I-Comp Sports consortium will drive composite materials research, in line with the university’s ambitions in sports technology research and innovation. The joint research in composites will benefit not only the sports product industry, but also industries such as aerospace, renewable energy, and materials engineering.ISR’s first product made its debut at the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014. ISR had worked with the French manufacturer of skiing equipment, Skis Rossignol, to develop their new “INFINI” range of dynamic compression garments for cross country skiing.Strong industry linksApart from collaborating with multinational companies, which includes TaylorMade-Adidas, Sumitomo Rubber Industry (Dunlop/Srixon), Quiksilver and Russian largest sport retailer Sportmaster, ISR is also partnering international sports federations.Together with International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), ISR engineered a unique prototype machine to test the bounce of table tennis racquets to ensure they meet competition standards. At the same time, ISR is also working with the Badminton World Federation on equipment especially in shuttlecock development.Locally, the research institute has partnered Dou Yee Enterprises in flexible heating systems for sports garments, capitalising on NTU’s knowledge and expertise in making printable flexible batteries. ISR has also partnered with Bronx Creative Design Centre in innovative sports footwear technologies and material sciences from NTU.ISR has been focusing on sports equipment research and innovation with two goals in mind – to train manpower capability through postgraduate students; and to offer a unique interdisciplinary research and technology platform that will attract the international sports industry and its economy into Singapore.Since its founding in 2011, ISR has secured over S$5.5 million in research funding and generated revenue of over S$1 million. The institute, which will have 80 researchers and staff by end of this year, is funded by the Economic Development Board and NTU. It currently has 26 research and development projects completed or ongoing with its 15 sports industry partners, in addition to its 10 university research projects and 32 PhD students.More information: www.ntu.edu.sg