FRP application for racing wheelchair head to Tokyo Olympic


Today I would like to write about the title of “FRP application for racing wheelchair head to Tokyo Olympic ” and introduce application example of FRP to wheelchair.



Wheelchair racing at Tokyo Olympic 2020


Wheelchair racing is one of track and field competitions.

The competition class is defined in various category like;


– brain paralysis

– spinal cord injury

– cervical cord injury

– mutilation

– impaired functioning



The competition will be conducted as the range of short / middle / long track.


We can review the contents the page below.



Wheelchair manufacturers in Japan


Typical wheelchair manufacturers are introduced in this section.



OX Engineering (OX group)

* There exists English inquiry page.


They manufacture bikes in addition to wheelchairs. It is interested that their products like “Hand Cycle Bike”.



Nissin Medical Industries Co., Ltd.

* There exists English summary page.


They focus on medical wheel products including wheelchairs.



Yachiyo Industries Co., Ltd.


It is a company with capital of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. They manufacture fuel tanks, san roof, resin parts, in addition to racing wheelchairs.


Yachiyo Industries opened promotion video regarding racing wheelchair.





CFRP is applied in many of racing wheelchairs


It might be surprised, but CFRPs are often applied to many of racing wheelchairs, especially top-level racing categories like Olympic.


These materials are used for frames and wheels.



OX group released special wheelchair model for Tokyo Olympic 2020. The product name is CARBON GPX and we could see summary page as below (in Japanese).



Sheet frames are manufactured by Aluminum or Magnesium. Frame design is based on V-frame, and the design concept seems to be based on their long-history know-how.

It is mentioned that woven alignment and lay-up number/angle were studies for ride feeling optimization. This indicates that they are actively studies to treat CFRPs.



Racing wheelchairs of Nissin Medical Industries are introduced in the page bewlow.


There are two types of wheelchairs of NSR-C02 and NSR-C03. The former’s sheet frame and main frame are fixed, and they could be separated in the latter.


They have some types of wheel like;


– Aluminum rim

– 4 spokes with carbon(CORIMA)

– Carbon disk wheel(ZIPP)


Customers can choose also colors.



Yachiyo Industries video above let us know that engineers are doing lay-up on the mold, and then they are introduced to autoclave.


The bagging technologies are impressive for me. There don’t exist so many edge areas, but it should be difficult to bag so large products without leakage.


They also conducted profile inspection by laser scanning, then the data are introduced to 3D models with mesh for finite element method for stress and strain simulations.


I believe that there is no end to target to make CAE accuracy better, so they would input modulus and poison ratio of “only in-plain” properties. The main purpose of simulation should be understanding the trend.



It is pretty important that evaluation with components should be necessary, if CAE accuracy study is acceptable levels to understand the “reality”.


I don’t think that it is not so reasonable to consider micro elements in CAE like interface between fiber and matrix resins or etc, if you are in the developing teams in the industry. The reality is really complex and it is not so easy to simulate truth.


FRP design discussion was mentioned in another article here.


Possibility of FRP application to welfare field


Today I have written about racing wheelchair with FRPs.


I, personally, expected that FRPs could be applied in welfare field more, considering their most advantage of “light weight”.


I had a colleague who used wheelchair.

He basically came to our office by his car.


I saw that he brought his wheelchair with his one hand to bring it to his car after sit on the sheet. This action should be tough work for women or elders.  



I thought


“FRP can contribute something in welfare fields”


when I watched the seen.



From engineering view point, aluminum would be the best candidate as the light weight material because there doesn’t exists anisotropic properties. But FRPs could be also applicable if there are needs for light weight which is impossible by aluminum.


If FRPs can be one of the choices for applications in welfare fields, GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastics) should be the best choice not only from cost but also supply stability.



I hope that FRPs will be applied in wider welfare field soon.

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