Basalt fiber offers better properties, thinks in Coyote Design, a manufacturer of orthotic and prosthetic devices.
US-located Coyote Design applies basalt fiber instead of carbon and aramid fibers to manufacture composite prostheses.
The founders, father and son Dale and Matt Perkinson, have a first-hand knowledge of problems the amputees live with because they both have just two legs in total.
Having launched the start-up in 1999, they started to produce high-quality and comfortable orthotic and prosthetic devices and components. They are sure to be gaining experience and their technologies have been improving and developing.
For people with limited mobility, comfortable prosthetic devices are extremely important, so Coyote Design fabricates a custom-made prosthetic socket, based on the mold, then fits it carefully and provides after-sale service.
A while ago the manufacturer made a prosthetic foot for a climber Tom Whittaker who has become the first amputee to summit Mount Everest. At his suggestion, a lightweight and very strong leg prosthesis was made of aramid fiber. However, polyester resin and aramid fiber proved to be a bad combination due to poor adhesion so the appliance could loose strength fast.
Epoxy resin plus carbon fiber turned out to be much better combination, though the fragility of this composite was still a matter of concern. Moreover, the appliance was too tough making the user itch.
So, Coyote Design turned to alternatives. Basalt fiber became an option and basalt fiber composite solved most of the problems allowing for durable, comfortable and reliable prostheses components.
Currently, the manufacturer owns a patent for a proprietary basalt composite – Coyote Composite. They use basalt fiber to produce sleeves, fabric and cord, which then either get into their production process or supplied to the market.
In addition to flexibility, elasticity and lightness, the Perkinson discovered other benefits of basalt fiber: relatively low cost and greater safety than carbon fiber.
Coyote Design started an educational course “Alternatives to carbon fiber”, where they provide insight into the manufacturing process and basalt fiber as a reinforcing material for composites in prosthetics.