Glass - Back to the Future!

Presenting Author:
Andrew Parsons

article posted 06 April 2016

Andy Parsons is Senior Research Fellow in the Composites Research Group at Nottingham, a Chartered Engineer and Scientist and a member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. He has a multidisciplinary background in physics, chemistry, materials, knowledge transfer and cell culture and has worked on developing resorbable materials for more than 10 years. His research focuses are in developing phosphate glasses and glass fibres, thermoplastic composites and more recently nanocomposite materials. These material types are being developed for use in orthopaedic medical devices to help repair and regenerate hard tissues.

The Long Road to Phosphate Glass Reinforcing Fibres

Andrew J. Parsons
Composites Research Group, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham

Phosphate glasses have been studied with keen interest for many years as a material with great potential for use in medical devices. In fibre form, they would offer high strength, high modulus, resorbable materials with the potential for use both in the form of textiles and as reinforcing fibres for resorbable composites. Although well established as optical fibres, the production of phosphate glass fibres with a diameter small enough for effective composite reinforcement is challenging. Very few sites around the world are able to produce reinforcing phosphate fibres and even then typically just in single filament form. At Nottingham we have worked with a number of partners over the years to progress from single filament draw through to early multi-filament devices and are now on the cusp of commercial production. This presentation will discuss the route that was taken and the challenges along the way, as well as showcasing the latest capabilities in manufacturing phosphate glass reinforcing fibre and the materials made using them.