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Award for novel mountain bike design

Press release issued: 6 September 2002

Media release
Award for novel mountain bike design

Four students from Bristol University's Aerospace Engineering department have completed the task of designing and manufacturing an innovative mountain bike. The success of the Mark 1 frame has led to an award being made from Bristol University's Enterprise Development Fund. This will allow an improved Mark 2 frame to be made with the intent of moving to commercial production of composite bike frames.

The novel design of the composite frame eliminates the need for a separate suspension, which adds weight and complexity to normal bikes. Made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic, a composite material that is very light but stronger than steel, it is ideal for the very harsh environment of competitive mountain bikes.

Phil Newnham and Paul Wilkinson carried out the detailed design and analysis. Ben Green and Alwyn Evans developed the manufacturing route and built the bike. The two teams collaborated on the initial design and the testing of the finished product. They were advised by Kevin Potter and Paul Weaver from the Aerospace Engineering Department. Composite materials are all around us - from the shells of Formula 1 cars to the glasses perched on your nose. They are created by combining several different substances to yield characteristics superior to those of the individual constituents. Composites influence our daily life far more than we realise, so why not find out more about them when the 'Composites on Tour' trailer stops off at Anchor Square, Bristol, from 5-8 September, on its journey through science centres in nine European countries. Several Bristol University students will be helping out and demonstrating the exhibits.

Housed in the World's first ever trailer made entirely out of composites the 'Composites on Tour' exhibition gives you a hands-on insight into the science behind these amazing materials. The 40-foot trailer packed with hands-on exhibits and displays shows how new and modern composite materials are stronger than steel yet a fraction of the weight. You can build your own tower out of different materials, see how carbon fibre is made into violins and knee joints, and even examine why these synthetic materials might reduce greenhouse gases.

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Copyright: 2002 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Friday, 06-Sep-2002 12:43:34 BST

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