Novel applications for advanced materials: What have surfboards and planes got in common?

1 12 2007

Surf’s Up 

On reading a very interesting article in recently relating to advanced materials, I was left pondering where else they could conceivably be used to good effect.

The article focused on the use of composites, core materials and aramid fabrics, along with carbon fibre, hybrids, fibreglass and other technical fabrics in the production of surfboards. Such materials are more commonly found in aerospace and technically demanding applications such as fire protection and body armour but are now finding their way into everyday life.

Making use of aerospace technologies, Segway Composites used aluminium honeycomb, hollow carbon fibre and the vacuum bagging process to produce their high performance KOLSTOF surfboard (named after ‘koolstof’, the Dutch word for carbon). Even military grade KevlarTM has been incorporated to help to counteract the many stresses placed on the board when in use.

With such a novel place to find these types of advanced materials, where else could they find themselves next? Answers on a postcard please…