The tests mean Spartan will be able to make better wetsuits more efficiently, meaning a positive impact on a UK company's ability to compete in a crowded global market.
Mark Minter of Spartan said: "NPL's wetsuit testing really helped understand the technical side of wetsuit design. We are now focused on using the correct materials and fully testing everything before production. Neoprene suppliers send samples with claims as to a material's suitability, rather than objective data about thermal performance. NPL's testing highlighted the need to research the correct material. It has saved us producing whole ranges of suits that would be next to useless for the colder northern European countries we sell to, saving us at least 100,000."
In the longer term the techniques developed could have a huge social impact if this work is extended to other wetsuit manufacturers and neoprene suppliers. Richard Dudley of NPL concludes "millions of people in colder European countries such as the UK take part in activities that require wetsuits, from Scuba diving and Triathlons to Surfing and Windsurfing, to brave chilly waters. Improved materials and construction will mean they can spend more time in the water, and enjoy their sport of choice in much colder conditions than they are currently comfortable doing. This will have an important economic benefit for both wetsuit manufacturers and the watersports industry as a whole."
|Contact: David Lewis|
National Physical Laboratory