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Prosthetic Limb Socket Made from Waste Plastic Gets Global Stage

Image: DMU Karthikeyan Kandan
The device costs a little under $14 to produce, compared with conventional prosthetic devices that run about $6,800. Its inventor will be featured in the UK pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Back in September 2019, PlasticsToday reported on an engineer and lecturer at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) in the United Kingdom who created a prosthetic limb socket for amputees made from recycled plastic water bottles. The device costs a little under $14 to produce, compared with conventional prosthetic devices that run about $6,800. Dr. Karthikeyan Kandan, who is now Associate Professor at DMU’s School of Engineering and Sustainable Development, will demonstrate his work on this and other sustainable engineering projects at Expo 2020, the international innovation festival in Dubai that begins a six-month run in October.

As explained in that article, Kandan uses granulated materials from recycled plastic water bottles to spin polyester yarn, which is heated to form a solid, lightweight material and molded into prosthetic limb sockets. “There are so many people in developing countries who would really benefit from quality artificial limbs but unfortunately cannot afford them,” Kandan was quoted as saying. “The aim of this project was to identify cheaper materials that we could use to help these people, and that’s what we have done.”

At Expo 2020 — like the summer Olympics, the event was scheduled for 2020 but had to be postponed because of the pandemic, hence the anomalous date — Kandan and his team of researchers will also showcase their other work in sustainable practices. One recent project is a brick made from plastic waste that reportedly provides 10-times better insulation than clay bricks and reduces construction costs.

Kandan will present his research in the UK Pavilion, where DMU will have a permanent presence. Expo 2020 will welcome representatives from more than 190 nations to promote sustainability, mobility, and opportunities under the theme, Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.

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