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Loughborough University design student Tom Hamilton's leg brace design

Student’s leg brace design reaches final of national competition

Loughborough University design student Tom Hamilton has made it to the finals of the prestigious 2013 Design Innovation in Plastics Award, alongside four other entries.

This is Europe’s longest running student plastics award, established to encourage innovative product design in plastics.  For 2013 the challenge for entrants was to design a product that would help alleviate the suffering of disaster victims, and this year there was a record number of entries for the award.

Tom’s design of an innovative leg brace caught the eye of the judges when he showed them how it could immobilise injured people in mountain rescues or other emergency situations. The brace is made from a flat polypropylene sheet that wraps round the patients leg so it can also pass through a CT or MRI scanner without any problems.

On hearing that he had been shortlisted Tom said:

“I was thrilled to be nominated out of such a large amount of entrants from across the country. To make the jump from the project being a key part of my degree to an idea recognised by judges from industry is very gratifying.”

“I wanted to use materials in ways that they hadn't before. When looking at some furniture designs I saw a chair that used polypropylene sheet to form part of the structure. It demonstrated the strength of the material. Through this I looked at other potential uses for this material and the idea for the splint was born.”

The winner will be announced in May and will receive £1000 and a placement with Bayer MaterialScience, Leverkusen, Germany – one of the world’s largest producers of polymers and high-performance plastics.

All five finalists receive placements and a sum of money depending on their placing as well as a one year membership to The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

The award was open to undergraduate and postgraduate design students from universities across the UK and Ireland.

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