New polymer materials for construction and medical use
A range of new materials for the construction and medical industries have been developed thanks to the unique engineering expertise of researchers at the University of Bradford.
A team from the Centre for Advanced Materials Engineering has been able to apply its knowledge of polymers die drawing to develop a composite building material that is replacing wood in a wide range of applications. The new material is lighter, stronger and more durable than wood, whilst closely matching its structure and aesthetics. Patents have been filed in partnership with a US company, Dow Building Products, and a dedicated company, Eovations LLC, is marketing the potential of the manufacturing process and the material to architects, industrial engineers and product designers, with a reported increased market share running into millions of dollars.
Alongside this, the Bradford polymer die drawing expertise has also directly led to the development of innovative new ‘shape memory’ products for medical implants that help the surgical repair and healing of tissue damage, caused by injury and diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis. Researchers perfected a ‘micro-scale’ version of the industrial process for use with biocompatible polymers, and a range of shape memory devices for fixing bone and soft tissue in place that are activated at body temperature have been produced. A number of patents have been filed in partnership with global medical technology company Smith & Nephew, and the new bioabsorbable products are proving easier for surgeons to fix into place, with patients benefiting from faster recovery time from procedures.
For more information about this type of research, visit the Centre for Advanced Materials Engineering.