Plastic fantastic

A Northumbria University Design student has developed an innovative solution to the cumbersome traditional plaster cast for broken limbs.

A Northumbria University design student has developed an innovative solution to the cumbersome traditional plaster cast for broken limbs.

For his efforts, Computer Aided Product Design student Carl Needham, 20, from Blaydon, won £250 and a work placement with DuPont Engineering Polymers in the prestigious International Design Innovation in Plastics contest.

Needham’s entry was a design for a waterproof, breathable system of components to replace awkward and wasteful plaster casts.

‘The idea for the plastic cast actually came from my dad, who had to wear a series of plaster casts on a broken ankle when I was younger. Wearing a plaster cast for a prolonged period of time left my dad’s skin in a terrible condition because the skin can’t breathe. This plastic cast would be locked in place by a doctor, so would still be as effective as a plaster cast, but would allow airflow,’ said Needham.

Needham’s Arm Cast is made using Bayer MaterialScience’s Makroblend polycarbonate and polyurethane Bayflex.

The Design Innovations in Plastic competition is organised by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining with sponsorship from the Worshipful Company of Horners, Bayer MaterialScience and others.

A record 326 students in UK universities registered for the competition, resulting in 102 entries from 14 universities.