Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Class Football Project

PostedDecember 3, 2005

Download File (mp3)


Randy Atkins:  When Virginia Tech's running back broke his arm, the team trainers presented their problem to Brian Love's engineering class.  

Brian Love:  I basically asked the students to provide a homework assignment.

Randy Atkins:  It was... get him back on the field, and fast!  The usual polypropylene cast would be crushed if got stomped on.  

Brian Love:  I could do the same thing with a carbon fiber composite system, and it doesn't bend at all.
Randy Atkins:  So that's the material Love's students selected for molding this first-of-its kind cast.  Then they tested it in the lab, right?  

Brian Love:  I hate to say, but no.

Randy Atkins:  The field test, though, has been working just fine, and Love's engineering class has likely changed sports medicine for good.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.

Resources


  • More about the special cast
  • Such carbon fiber composites are already used in prostheses for athletes
  • Fillauer, an orthotics and prosthetics company, provided the uniaxial polypropylene/carbon fiber composite for Humes' cast