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10 January 2012 The Guardian

Novel fabrics to make an Olympic splash

Workshop - Novel Technologies for Winning: Applying novel and advanced technologies in sport, 15th March 2012, London
Workshop - Novel Technologies for Winning: Applying novel and advanced technologies in sport, 15th March 2012, London.
Image Credit: IoN.

Following the smashing of 168 world records in swimming in 2009, the sports governing body, FINA, decided to investigate and then banned certain types of swimwear made from materials that aided "speed, buoyancy or endurance". But since then, the leading UK swimwear manufacturer Speedo International Ltd, has taken a fresh approach to designing swimwear that fits within FINA’s rules. With its new FastSkin3 competitive swimwear range, launched in December 2011, Speedo has enlisted the help of UK researchers to create a suit with the lowest possible level of drag, the measure of how easily a material enables water to move over it.

The researchers, from the Sorby Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Leeds University, measured a range of candidate materials, before working out which of them had the lowest fabric drag and would allow the fastest movement under water, using a flume machine with a powerful recirculating current and lasers that measured the flow around the fabric test pieces in great detail. Speedo claims that the new Fastskin3 swimsuit's design, utilising the novel fabrics, reduces passive drag, the resistance produced by a swimmer's body while it is held in a streamlined position, by 16.6% compared with its earlier competitive swimwear. Eight medal winner Michael Phelps of the US and the UK’s Olympic champion, Rebecca Adlington, have both already signed up to wear the suits at the London 2012 Olympics.

At the Institute of Nanotechnology’s forthcoming workshop Novel Technologies for Winning: Applying novel and advanced technologies in sport, to be held in the Olympic Borough of Newham on 15 March 2012, you can hear from Speedo how the new swimwear was developed, how it will benefit the UK’s competitive swimmers and how development of new fabrics for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics is already beginning! Hear from Speedo and many more innovative companies!

Source: The Guardian /...

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