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Review of Auxetic Materials for Sports Applications: Expanding Options in Comfort and Protection

Duncan, O and Shepherd, T and Moroney, C and Foster, L and Venkatraman, P and Winwood, K and Allen, TB and Alderson, A (2018) Review of Auxetic Materials for Sports Applications: Expanding Options in Comfort and Protection. Applied Sciences, 8 (6). ISSN 2076-3417

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Abstract

Following high profile, life changing long term mental illnesses and fatalities in sports such as skiing, cricket and American football—sports injuries feature regularly in national and international news. A mismatch between equipment certification tests, user expectations and infield falls and collisions is thought to affect risk perception, increasing the prevalence and severity of injuries. Auxetic foams, structures and textiles have been suggested for application to sporting goods, particularly protective equipment, due to their unique form-fitting deformation and curvature, high energy absorption and high indentation resistance. The purpose of this critical review is to communicate how auxetics could be useful to sports equipment (with a focus on injury prevention), and clearly lay out the steps required to realise their expected benefits. Initial overviews of auxetic materials and sporting protective equipment are followed by a description of common auxetic materials and structures, and how to produce them in foams, textiles and Additively Manufactured structures. Beneficial characteristics, limitations and commercial prospects are discussed, leading to a consideration of possible further work required to realise potential uses (such as in personal protective equipment and highly conformable garments).

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