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A chance meeting with some very excited golf ball manufacturers in Japan has led UQ Business School Enterprize finalist TanasiTech to pursue the lucrative golf ball cover market.
Led by Dr Darren Martin, the TenasiTech team has come up with a way to dramatically increase the strength of thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers while maintaining flexibility.
And one of the markets for this soft, strong product is the not-so-humble golf ball.
With millions at stake at the highest levels, interest in a ball-covering material that resists scuffing and so performs more consistently in terms of spin, is running high.
Dr Martin said members of the TenasiTech team had been in Japan at a nanotechnology conference when they realised all the big names in golf were at the Japan golf trade fair next door.
"Craig Belcher (of the University's technology transfer company, UniQuest) and I just went over and started talking to the exhibitors about the product and its unique properties," he said.
"Even at that stage there was a lot of interest."
Dr Martin has been involved in applied R&D on polyurethanes for the past 17 years - including developing a very stable material ideally suited to medical products and contributing to spin off company Aortech, which manufactures heart pace-maker leads.
He joined UQ in 1999 and was one of the first academics selected to work in a multi-million dollar research hub the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.
Dr Martin said he had worked with some fantastic PhD students and academics at UQ including Tim Woo, Kayleen Campbell, Brad Finnigan, Grant Edwards, and Associate Professors Peter Halley and Rowan Truss.
"The potential markets for this product are endless and include leisure and sporting applications, textiles, industrial, automotive, and biomedical applications, and even FMCGs," he said.
TenasiTech hopes to walk away with $100,000 after going head to head with six other innovative business ideas at the famous UQ Business School Enterprize Pitch Day on October 11.
About the Enterprize competition:
The winner of UQ Business School's Enterprize Competition will receive prize money of $100,000. The prize money will be paid to a suitable legal entity established to commercialise the winning business idea. Funds will be released on a progressive basis throughout the year, as and when the winning team meet specific milestones demonstrating progress with the commercialisation of the project. Typically, the winners must launch the new venture within 12 months of the competition and accomplish designated milestones that are defined in each winner's launch plan.
In addition to this, i.lab, the Queensland Government's technology incubator, will provide one year's occupancy and access to i.lab member services to one finalist team. One team may be eligible to win both the $100,000 prize and the i.lab prize.
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