Pioneering researcher unveils new auxetic materials projects

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Pioneering researcher unveils new auxetic materials projects

Saturday 14 February 2015

Materials that mimic salamander skin and seashells are being used to make football shin pads safer and buildings more resilient. MERI's Professor Andrew Alderson is leading several projects looking at commercial uses for auxetic materials, which become thicker when stretched or thinner when compressed.

This means they can produce products that are more durable and resistant to pressure - but research is still at a relatively early stage.

Professor Alderson, who will unveil his research at an event as part of National Science and Engineering Week next month, is working with sports engineers, architects and the medical sector to develop a range of projects. He was recently asked to participate in a BBC Two programme 'Biomimetics - Designed by Nature', talking about how he is working on ways to interpret nature's biological mechanisms. The full programme can be viewed here.

Professor Alderson explained: 'We're looking at how auxetic materials can be used to create a shinpad which makes players less likely to receive injuries. The same technique is just starting to be used in sportswear but there are huge opportunities for this to be developed further. On a far grander scale, auxetic materials could make buildings more resilient.'

His talk will unlock some of the secrets of these expanding materials.

It will be held on Thursday 19 March at 1025 Owen Building, Arundel Street, Sheffield Hallam University, from 2pm to 3pm as part of The Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering - a month long celebration of Sheffield Hallam University's and The University of Sheffield's contributions to the world of science.

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