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Guest editorial article, special issue on sports engineering

Walker, Colin and Ujihashi, Sadayuki, eds. (2006) Guest editorial article, special issue on sports engineering. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part L: Journal of Materials: Design and Applications, 220 (4). i-ii. ISSN 1464-4207

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This issue contains ten papers that form the second part of the special issue on Sports Engineering. Each paper in its own way is outstanding. They show the diversity of the activity that comes under the heading of sports engineering, and yet they have a unity in that they all address questions that have arisen from actual experience, none more so than the first paper by Nigel Mills on the design of bicycle helmets. This is a topic that has occupied Dr Mills for many years, and the range of experience he brings to this study - which combines finite-element modelling, user input, materials technology, and experiment - is formidable. The second paper by Peter MacKenzie and Gareth Bradley is a response to a quite different challenge, that of devising a new material that has the property of being metastable, that is, it can be a solid or mouldable at the desire of the user, who may wish to customize a splint or a shin guard. The next two papers arise from the work of the Edinburgh Ice Mechanics group led by Jane Blackford, in which they looked first of all at the fundamental science behind the use of sweeping the stone in curling and also developed an instrumented broom to assist in the development of technique. Although these papers are of a purely technical nature, their application abuts the verges of applied psychology.