Two Senior Swimmers Connect with Sports Technology and Entrepreneurship Class

Two Purdue competitive swimmers are getting an inside look at the design of high performance swimsuit materials in Jan-Anders Mansson’s MSE 597 Sports Technology and Entrepreneurship class.

Practice swim suits are made of polyester, but those worn for races are much more high-tech, made with special materials designed to shave all-important hundredths of a second off a swimmer’s time. The fabrics are super-hydrophobic to repel water, with attention paid to reducing form drag, wave drag and surface drag.

Professor Mansson discusses the science behind the super-hydrophobic swimsuit which repels water and reduces drag.

Purdue Materials Engineering students Meagan Lim of Singapore and Ted Curtiss of Tennessee, who graduated this spring, are members of the Purdue swimming and diving team and were named to the Academic All-Big10. Lim’s events are butterfly and individual medley; Curtiss swims backstroke. As competitive athletes, the students are well equipped to connect to the course material and provide unique perspectives on equipment and design. Lim plans to pursue a career that combines her love of engineering and competitive sports. Curtiss was drawn to study engineering so he could learn more about the materials used for technical swimsuits, but his Purdue coursework expanded his interests and lead him to materials engineering work in the aviation industry.

Meaghan Lim
Ted Curtiss

The sports technology and entrepreneurship class is a way for students like Lim and Curtiss to think about opportunities related to sports technology. The sports-driven market is a good one with a rapid start-up profile, according to Mansson, a distinguished professor of Materials Engineering and Chemical Engineering who is also acting on several committees related to the International Olympic Committee and International Sport Federations. The class, he says, is a good way to convey this to students like Lim and Curtiss who live with sports technology every day and just might dip their toes in — or even dive into — the waters of entrepreneurship.

Professor Mansson talks with students in a classroom.