PORON Cushioning Blog Blog

PORON Cushioning Blog

Super Bowl 50: Players Take 3D Printing and Flexible, Comfortable XRD Impact Protection to the Field

Posted by Nicole Perry on Friday, February 5th, 2016 | No Comments »

It is no secret, having the right team behind you is one key to success. This is especially true when you are at a “win or go home” situation, such as this weekend’s Super Bowl 50.

Carolina Panthers' Thomas Davis (58) intercepts a pass intended for New Orleans Saints' Kenny Stills (84) in the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn) ORG XMIT: NCCB118

Carolina Panthers’ Thomas Davis (58) intercepts a pass intended for New Orleans Saints’ Kenny Stills (84) in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

“On Monday, we received an urgent request for XRD® Technology solutions that would be suitable for a custom built arm brace,” said Dave Sherman, Innovation Leader at the XRD Impact Institute. “As we evaluate each application for its specific impact protection needs, athlete biomechanics and design criteria, we quickly realized this brace would be one-of-a-kind, used by the Carolina Panthers’ All-Pro linebacker Thomas Davis.”

XRD Technology is formulated using specially engineered molecules that instantly react when impacted. At low impact speeds, such as pushing the material with your finger, it feels soft and contours to your body. During high speed impacts, such as quickly hitting the material, it instantly stiffens to absorb the impact and then returns to its original soft and flexible state.

XRD Man_White Background smMany materials, such as water, wood, and even the popular children’s toy ‘silly putty,’ demonstrate strain rate dependent characteristics.

“For example, if you jump into water from two feet, the water feels soft and inviting,” explains Sherman. “But if you jump into water from 30 feet, you are hitting the water at a faster rate of speed, thus the water reacts and the landing isn’t as soft.”

For those who want to try an in-home experiment, Sherman suggest mixing corn starch and water.

So what makes XRD Technology unique?

“It comes down to our ability to formulate the open-cell foams with molecules to react with varying degrees of impact, while maintaining a flexible, comfortable fit,” said Sherman. “We also work with brand partners to develop protective solutions that are unique to their specific needs. You wouldn’t expect to use the same shoulder pad designed for motorsports as you would on the football field. The impact, biomechanics, and design needs are all different.”

Rendering of Davis' 3D printed brace, complete with #58

Rendering of Davis’ 3D printed brace, complete with #58

The flexible, XRD Impact Protection material is being used as a lining under Davis’s 3D printed brace and compliments the design by providing ultimate impact protection while also being thin, lightweight, breathable, and comfortable.

After a quick evaluation of the application needs, the XRD Impact Protection team overnighted the recommended XRD materials to the teams at 3D Elite and Whiteclouds who were collaborating on the project.

“Thomas Davis is already the ‘bionic man’ in our book,” said Scott Perone of 3D Elite. “This personalized 3D brace lined with XRD Impact Protection makes him a bit more indestructible.”

With a metal plate and 12 screws keeping his arm together, reports are saying Davis is putting the new 3D printed brace with XRD Technology to the test in practice. During the Super Bowl 50 Media Night at the SAP Center, Davis mentioned, “It was a light [practice] day, but I took every opportunity to hit it on something.”

wilkerson_xtechIf Davis does play with the custom brace, he may not be the only player with XRD protection on their side. XRD Partner, XTECH may also be found on the field during Super Bowl Sunday. XTECH is the developer of the X2, the most advanced shoulder pad for American football players. The XTECH X2 offers the highest protection of any shoulder pad, as rated by the University of Virginia, and is the first shoulder pad to incorporate a full lining of XRD Impact Protection for flexible, total coverage protection. Worn by top players, such as All-Pro Defensive Lineman, Muhammad Wilkerson, XTECH pads are in demand by players looking for a protective solution that is lightweight, flexible and durable.

All of us at the XRD Impact Institute will be cheering for Davis during this Sunday’s Super Bowl and we are thankful for the opportunity to work with the 3D Elite and Whitecoulds teams on this unique opportunity.

Additionally, this has added some fuel to the Carolina vs Denver rivalry taking place in our lab!

Take a look at the other sports products using XRD Technology: XRD® Partners

Nicole Perry

Nicole Perry

Global Market Segment Manager for PORON Comfort materials. Nicole has been involved in the Footwear industry for over 15 years. She also has over 25 years working with high performance materials including custom injection molded and cast polymers for automotive, apparel, electronics, equipment and medical markets. Nicole is passionate about bringing great technologies to market and working with companies that share the goal of helping people enjoy life no matter what they are doing. She holds an MBA from Nichols College.

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