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Olly Duncan

Mr Olly Duncan BEng, MSc

Research Associate


Olly's PhD "Auxetic foams for sports applications" followed on from his MSc project in the same area, completed as part of the Sports Engineering course offered by the Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University, which he started in 2014. His role as a post-doctoral research associate focusses on fabricating and testing auxetic materials for sporting and military personal protective equipment, regularly using the state of the art digital image correlation and impact testing equipment recently acquired by the Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts.

  • About

    Olly is an early career researcher, having recently submitted his PhD thesis. Despite his early stage, he is building up a good list of outputs; with nine journal papers, extended conference papers and book chapters published during his PhD. For his Post-Doctoral position, he is fabricating closed cell auxetic foams; something that manufacturers of sporting and military/police protective equipment have expressed significant interest in.

    Through his previous PhD scholarship as a Graduate Teaching Associate, Olly managed successful final year, placement and MSc projects and developed his teaching and lecturing. Although his current position does not involve any teaching, he is always keen to share details of his work; which takes counterintuitive material characteristics and clearly shows their benefits. He is a member of the Centre for Sports Engineering Research's Design Engineering Research Theme, through which his PhD has been summarised in a recent blog article.

    As a member of the International Sports Engineering Association (ISEA) he has secured funding to travel to Canada and test smart materials in sports helmets, where he will give talks at local Universities, Hospitals and Ski Fields. He is also an Associate Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

    Awards for his research include:

    • Best student presentation, 1st UK Sports Engineering Seminar Day, 2017

    • 3rd Prize in the Young researchers Forum, 9th Conference in Auxetic Materials

    Specialist areas of interest

    • Auxetic materials;
    • Sports materials;
    • Impact protection;
    • Mechanical testing
    • Polymers

  • Research

    • Polymers, Nanocomposites and Modelling Research Centre
    • Materials and Engineering Research Institute

    Funded by Sheffield Hallam University (Faculty of STA GTA studentship; Creating Knowledge Platform Challenge Fund) and external companies.

    This project is focused on developing new and improved materials for sporting impact protection and is in collaboration with the Centre for Sports Engineering Research and also Manchester Metropolitan University. The work focusses on three main areas: i) taking a fundamental look at the indentation resistance of auxetic foam, and findings suggest even greater improvements than theoretically expected are possible, ii) Fabrication of large area or volume isotropic, anisotropic and gradient one-piece auxetic open cell foams, characterised at low speed and under impact. Substantial reductions in peak force have been found for the auxetic foams; iii) Fabrication of closed cell auxetic foams, which could be directly applied to a wide range of personal protective equipment, running shoes and crash pads (to name a few). 

    His academic collaborators include/have included: Manchester Metropolitan Univesrity, École de technologie supérieure (Montreal, Canada), University of Malta Malta (Malta)

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