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ARTIS was approached by the world-leading National Composites Centre (NCC) in Bristol to improve the grip of gloves used by GB wheelchair athlete Mel Nicholls.
The NCC had been engaged to develop a glove using the latest additive manufacturing techniques and ARTIS was asked to provide a suitable formulation to improve the performance of the rubber facing used to engage with the wheel rim. This was a particular issue in the wet when trying to gain traction against the slippery push rim of the wheel.
ARTIS drew on its extensive knowledge of rubber compounds and formulated two new compounds, which were supplied to Mel in time for her to compete in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. Mel tested the materials and reported that they gave noticeable improvements in grip in both wet and dry conditions.
This year, Mel has been competing on the road and recorded personal bests in both the London and Berlin Marathons, the latter in very wet conditions where many athletes were struggling with the weather. She followed this up with an overall win in the Cardiff half-marathon.
Mel commented “I am so grateful for your expertise and support on this project, it is certainly proving an important factor within marginal gains already. It is exciting where this could go.”
ARTIS is currently working on further developments to the rubber and will be working with Mel and the NCC to secure funding for this ongoing research.