The role of technology in sporting performance

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The lecture answers the questions of how much effect does engineering technology have on sport, is technology only used to increase performance and what are the "new technologies" being introduced. Courtesy of Prof Claire Davies, School of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham.

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The role of technology in sporting performance

  1. 1. "The role of technology in sporting performance" Prof Claire Davis, School of Metallurgy and Materials
  2. 2. The role of technology in sporting performance How much effect does engineering technology have on sport? Is technology only used to increase performance? What are the ‘new technologies’ being introduced?
  3. 3. Pole Vaulting http://www.flickr.com/photos/thatpicturetakr/  /  CC BY-ND 2.0
  4. 4. Pole Vaulting - history 19 th & 20 th Ash or hickory poles, hands moved up century pole during vault 1889 USA banned hand movement 1900 - 1942 Introduction of bamboo poles Early 1900’s Box introduced to receive pole on ‘plant’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/32912172@N00/  /  CC BY 2.0
  5. 5. Pole Vaulting - history 1957 Bob Gutowski (USA), aluminium pole first used, world record (WR) 4.78m 1957 Don Bragg (USA), steel pole WR 4.80m ≈ 1956 Introduction of flexible composite (fibre-glass) poles 1961 WR first broke with composite (fibre-glass) pole http://www.flickr.com/photos/driever/  /  CC BY-NC 2.0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/deadyankee/  /  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  6. 6. Current world record: Men: 6.14m (Sergei Bubka 1994) Women: 5.06m (Yelena Isinbayeva 2009 ) Effect of technology on performance
  7. 7. Modern poles Uniaxial composites (fibre volume fraction of 66%): GFRP modulus ≈ 35 GPa CFRP modulus ≈ 140 GPa Failure strains: Glass fibres ≈ 2.6 % Carbon fibres ≈ 0.6 - 1.1 % Unidirectional carbon fibre / epoxy resin Woven carbon fibre / epoxy resin Filament wound glass fibre core
  8. 8. Modern poles - microstructure Resin Fibre bundle Inner ply Angled plies Cross section through a vaulting pole showing bundles of glass fibres in resin matrix.
  9. 9. What the athletes say ‘ I usually take around 10 poles to each competition, each of them different. The poles are all of a different length and therefore stiffness. Which one I use depends on how much speed I am generating on the runway. I start out with softer, longer poles until I’m fully warmed up and then I’ll keep switching as my speed and confidence increases. The wind conditions will also dictate which pole I use.’ Stacy Dragila Uploaded by Silvjose This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license.
  10. 10. Modern poles As you push the technology to the limit then failures can occur resulting in potential safety implications - poles occasionally break during a jump in an unpredictable manner .
  11. 11. Athletics - running http://www.flickr.com/photos/pulfi/  /  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  12. 12. Decrease in winning times for 100m was 15 ms yr -1 in 1900, now 6 ms yr -1 i.e. hence pace of improvement has slowed Performance improvements come from: Better prepared athletes - improved training, nutrition etc. Limited engineering technology - shoes, clothing and track surfaces Chemical technology ? Sprinting http:// www.flickr.com/photos/philmcelhinney /  /  CC BY-SA 2.0
  13. 13. How much effect does engineering technology have on sport? Are all sports equally affected by the introduction of engineering technology? No - depends on the nature of the sport
  14. 14. Is technology only used to increase performance? Technology and research is usually used to improve performance, is this the only use?
  15. 15. Javelin By the mid-1980s some athletes could throw javelins further than 100 m. This forced the IAAF to change the rules as the javelins were in danger of being thrown ‘out of the stadium’. The new rules stipulated that the centre of mass should be moved forward by 4 cm. This helps to keep the nose down, reducing the lift on the javelin and cutting the distance it can travel. Matti Järvinen throwing the javelin at the 1932 Summer Olympics.
  16. 16. Cycling In 1972, Eddy Merckx set the 1 hour distance record, in Mexico City on a traditional steel framed bicycle, of 30.716 miles http://www.flickr.com/photos/7448869@N03/  /  CC BY-NC 2.0
  17. 17. Cycling Subsequently aerodynamic, streamlined Kevlar and carbon fibre composite bicycles increased the record to 35.031 miles, set by Chris Boardman in 1996. http://www.flickr.com/photos/cyberdees/  /  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 In 2000 Chris Boardman returned to a traditional bicycle to break Eddy Merckx’s record (30.716 miles) at 30.722 miles.
  18. 18. Tennis The change in racket frames from wood to aluminium then to fibre reinforced composites has resulted in larger racket heads. An increase in the sweet-spot area on the racket face means the ‘power’ of the racket has increased, which has increased the speed of the game. Synthetic strings Deformation of the racket http://www.flickr.com/photos/mischiru/  /  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  19. 19. Tennis The serve speed has increased to the current record of 155 mph. Spectators have complained about the lack of rallies and excitement in the game. To slow the game down on fast surfaces new balls are being introduced. One new ball type is 6% larger giving a 12% increase in drag and hence 10% increase in response time for the receiver. http:// www.flickr.com/photos/la_bretagne_a_paris /  /  CC BY-SA 2.0
  20. 20. During impact the golf ball compresses by up to 10%. Different construction and materials (e.g. polybutadiene, polyurethane, ionomer) are used to create balls with different properties (more spin or more distance). Hence can optimise performance by selection of equipment to suit individual players (professional or amateur). Golf
  21. 21. Is technology only used to increase performance? Technology and research is usually used to improve performance, is this the only use? No - can be used to improve safety, limit advances or improve player and spectator enjoyment
  22. 22. What are the ‘new technologies’ being introduced? Where is research and technology impacting on sport now?
  23. 23. Swimming Design of new swimming suits - Jason Lezak’s suit http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamdawson/  /  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  24. 24. Track cycling <ul><li>Riding on a 47 º inclined track. </li></ul><ul><li>Two main disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>(i) short ‘sprint’ distances (1 km) </li></ul><ul><li>(ii) longer ‘pursuit’ distances (4 km). </li></ul><ul><li>Lightweight carbon fibre composite </li></ul><ul><li>bicycles with only one gear and </li></ul><ul><li>no brakes. </li></ul>http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinpalmer/  /  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  25. 25. Track cycling 505 g 980 g http://www.flickr.com/photos/kgsbikes/  /  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/baumcycles/  /  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 • Weight  1 / acceleration But cannot reduce weight at the expense of stiffness.
  26. 26. Track cycling • Weight  1 / acceleration But cannot reduce weight at the expense of stiffness. High stiffness and good aerodynamics for foam filled solid wheels. 505 g 980 g http://www.flickr.com/photos/kgsbikes/  /  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/baumcycles/  /  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  27. 27. Track cycling Resin required to lock skin to core and for aerodynamics. Excess resin results in excess weight. Research has been carried out to reduce resin ingress into foam and has led to weight saving of 46g whilst maintaining stiffness. • Weight  1 / acceleration But cannot reduce weight at the expense of stiffness. High stiffness and good aerodynamics for foam filled solid wheels. 505 g 980 g http://www.flickr.com/photos/kgsbikes/  /  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/baumcycles/  /  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  28. 28. Smart materials Use of piezo-electric ceramics in active damping mechanisms to reduce vibrations http://www.flickr.com/photos/phrequency/  /  CC BY-NC 2.0 Piezo-electric ceramics: application of a current / voltage results in mechanical deflection … or vice versa
  29. 29. Smart materials Shape memory alloys and thermocolour change Nano-tex materials using nano-materials for stain / spill repelling, cooling ‘ Smart’ clothing for heat release / retention Thermochromic dyes for monitoring body temperature http://www.flickr.com/photos/ nnova /  /   CC BY-2.0
  30. 30. Does technology affect country performance? How does, and how will, Great Britain perform at the Olympics?
  31. 31. International technology gap 2008 Olympic Medal table: Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total GDP rank 1 United States 36 38 36 110 1 2 China 51 21 28 100 4 3 Russia 23 21 28 72 11 4 Great Britain 19 13 15 47 5 5 Australia 14 15 17 46 15 6 Germany 16 10 15 41 3 7 France 7 16 17 40 6 8 Korea 13 10 8 31 14 9 Italy 8 10 10 28 7 10 Japan 9 6 10 25 2 ‘ Missing’ top GDP countries?
  32. 32. International technology gap 2008 Olympic Medal table: Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total GDP rank 1 United States 36 38 36 110 1 2 China 51 21 28 100 4 3 Russia 23 21 28 72 11 4 Great Britain 19 13 15 47 5 5 Australia 14 15 17 46 15 6 Germany 16 10 15 41 3 7 France 7 16 17 40 6 8 Korea 13 10 8 31 14 9 Italy 8 10 10 28 7 10 Japan 9 6 10 25 2 ‘ Missing’ top GDP countries? Spain (8), Canada (9), Brazil (10), India (12) (IMF data 2007)
  33. 33. International technology gap ‘ Technology driven’ sports Non-technology sport Track cycling + rowing + sailing Athletics Total medals Total medals Great Britain 24 USA 23 Australia 7 Russia 18 New Zealand 6 Kenya 14 Netherlands 5 Jamaica 11 France 5 Ethiopia 7 Spain 5 Belarus 7 Germany 5 Jamaica 5 USA 5 Cuba 5 China 5 Ukraine 5 Canada 4 Australia 4 Italy 2 Great Britain 4
  34. 34. UK sports technology spend UK Sport funding (‘ 01 to ‘05 ) and (‘ 09 to ’13 ): (World class performance programme supporting athletes + research spend) Rank Sport Spend N o Olympic Olympic (000’s) athletes medals’04 medals’08 1 Athletics 11 400 25 110 64 4 4 2 Rowing 10 606 27 470 57 4 6 3 Cycling 8 613 26 922 30 4 12 4 Sailing 7 597 23 389 40 5 6 5 Swimming 6 417 25 606 48 2 6 6 Canoeing 4 659 16 289 18 3 3 7 Equestrian 4 413 13 651 24 3 2 8 Judo 4 107 7 636 24 0 0 9 Gymnastics 3 646 10 332 36 0 1 10 Triathlon 2 600 5 392 16 0 0 Data taken from http:// www.uksport.gov.uk /
  35. 35. What are the ‘new technologies’ being introduced? Where is research and technology impacting on sport now? Introduction of new materials and designs. Focus on specific sports in UK
  36. 36. THANK YOU Acknowledgements: Dr Martin Strangwood Dr Stephen Kukureka Stuart Monk Catherine Caton Liz Wilcock Blake Raynor Amy Cleeton

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