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.


  • 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