Advanced composites manufacturer Umeco is helping put a spring in the step of Paralympian athletes taking part in the London games next week by supplying materials for prosthetic limbs known as blades to specialist supplier Ottobock HealthCare.
Ottobock has selected Umeco’s VTM 264 unidirectional carbon reinforced epoxy resin prepregs to manufacture the blades that athletes such as Germany’s Heinrich Popow and Australia’s Kelly Cartwright are using.
VTM 264 is a toughened, 65 to 120°C curing, epoxy resin prepreg specifically developed for oven vacuum bag processing. It is an intermediate viscosity and tack prepreg suitable for full impregnation of light and medium weight unidirectional and woven reinforcements - woven prepreg is being used for the upper section and unidirectional prepreg is being used to manufacture the blade section.
Heinrich Popow is competing mainly in category T42 sprint events. He competed in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece, where he won a bronze medal in the men's 100 metres - T42 event, a bronze medal in the men's 200 metres - T42 event, a bronze medal in the men's Long jump - F42 event and finished fourth in the men's High jump - F42 event. He also competed at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing.
In this video Heinrich visits Ottobock to see his latest prosthetic limb being manufactured and then puts it to test on the training ground..
Kelly Cartwright is from Geelong, in Victoria, Australia. When she was fifteen, she had part of her leg amputated following cancer when chemotherapy was not an option. Kelly won gold in both the long jump and the 100 metres at the 2011 World Championships. Here she talks about life, sport and how her carbon fibre blades work for her on the track..
Last month at the London Olympics ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius made history by becoming the first double amputee to compete in an Olympic final against able bodied athletes whilst wearing carbon fibre blades.
Composites manufacturer Umeco, formerly known as Advanced Composites Group, has long been supplying materials to the medical and sports industries. The company’s products are used across a wide range of sporting disciplines and it develops custom composite materials that help athletes in their performances. As an international provider of advanced composite and process materials, Umeco works primarily with organisations and individuals across aerospace, defence, wind energy, recreation, automotive and marine.
Author: Billy Hunter