Sports Engineering

Sports engineers use their engineering skills to develop materials, products and systems that support athletes to complete at top level, and help sport become more accessible for all.

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Materials testing, engineering a football boot

Inspired by the Born to Engineer video from Sam Fraser, an engineer who combines his love for engineering with a passion for football, this resource supports students to increase their understanding of materials engineering, including materials testing, design and material properties (Hooke’s Law, shear, compression, tension, etc).

Sam Fraser is a mechanical engineer working for his PhD at Loughborough University Sports Technology Institute. Sponsored by Adidas, Sam uses techniques like finite area analysis to model and build better football boots. Sam analyses player movements and builds mechanical testing rigs to optimise and test the boots. Sam’s mission is to build a better boot which, at the highest level of football, can make the difference between success and failure. This film was produced for the ERA Foundation as part of campaign to attract young people into engineering education and careers.

publication year
2020 to date

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Winning Medals: Does Engineering Design Make a Difference?

This resource aims to give students the opportunity to investigate the impact of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) on wheelchair sport. Students design a scale model wheelchair and test their models and compete against each other to see whose wheelchair can travel the furthest and the straightest.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Athlete or Machine?

The resource allows students to investigate the question: Athlete or machine? Which is more important in the bob skeleton event? To answer the question, students must identify factors that influence the performance of the bob skeleton and investigate each one through practical, mathematical and scientific activities.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Engineering enables

The development of running blades has greatly enhanced the running ability of amputees and people born without legs.  In this activity students learn more about how the inventor of running blades applied the scientific concept of potential elastic energy and biomimicry to design a high performance prosthetic leg.

publication year
2010 to 2019

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Sports engineer

James and the team at the International Tennis Federation team design equipment to help beginners to pick up the techniques of the game easily. Their work also ensures that Murray, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic all compete fairly and Wimbledon wins are down to talent, not racket-type!

Tomorrow’s Engineers took a trip down to the ITF, in south-west London, to speak to James in an ex-squash court turned tennis-testing laboratory. 

publication year
2010 to 2019

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