A University of Brighton graduate has developed a new cycle helmet made from sustainable materials instead of the traditional chemical-based plastics.
James Dart, who graduated this year with a BA(Hons) in 3D Design, has created the ‘Duo Lin’ helmet made with a bio-resin flax foam interior and an exterior shell of resin and woven flax.
James, a keen cyclist, said initial trials showed Duo Lin to be tough and resilient, but it will need further testing to ensure it meets safety standards. The helmet was unscathed after a five-kilo weight was put inside and the helmet was then dropped from the height of the average person on a bike. He said: “It absorbs and dissipates impact.”
Now studying for his Masters in Switzerland, James said: “I am planning to further develop the materials for a helmet that will meet official British standards and I eventually want to take the helmet into production – I’m currently in talks with a potential commercial partner.”
James first developed Duo Lin for a University of Brighton project which has been supported by the Building Research and Innovation Deals for the Green Economy (BRIDGE), a European Union INTERREG IV-funded research project led by principal investigator, Dr Joan Farrer, from the University of Brighton’s Faculty of Arts.
Teams from the faculty work in collaboration with teams from the university’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences and they share the funding of 2.4 million euros. The collaboration extends to French partners: MIRIADE, ESITPA, ESITC Caen, Normadie Incubation, Orne Development and ISPA.
James’s helmet will feature at the BRIDGE Eco Circus event to be held December at the university’s Grand Parade campus in Brighton. The event will showcase the work of university students and staff and there will be opportunities for business-to-business networking.
Materials for Duo Lin were purchased by BRIDGE. James used resin made from linseed oil from the common flax plant and a hardener for the outer shell and molded it with woven flax, set under UV light. He created a foam from the bio-resin for cushioning the helmet’s interior.
James has been wearing the helmet for his own use and while it is heavier than traditional helmets, he said: “I find it comfortable and it’s great for the British climate … it’s waterproof.”
Dr Joan Farrer, Reader with the university’s Faculty of Arts, said: “The BRIDGE project has provided a wonderful opportunity for a community of learners to develop the concept of the green entrepreneur. This in turn has led to the development of a stable of innovators, products, services and green materials exemplified by the work of designer James Dart.”
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