Erik Holmström - Nanosuit
Erik Holmström - Nanosuit #1
Describe the idea:
Today’s wetsuits are based on neoprene which is produced from raw oil. In addition to this these wetsuits are often bulky and restrict the wearer’s movements. We offer a new kind of wetsuit where we replace the neoprene with a green nanomaterial improving flexibility as well as reducing the environmental impact.
Who are you? Previous education/jobs/ experiences etc.
I am a former supermarket clerk who likes to code, play squash and ski off-piste. Besides this business venture I am pursuing my fifth year of Engineering Nanoscience at LTH with a specialization in materials science. Prior to Nanosuit I’ve been a Team Leader of Premises at ARKAD, which is the biggest carrier fair in Sweden, where I learnt a lot of about leadership.
What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?
Our first goal is to come up with a prototype to be able to perform measurements and with these results determine the optimal structure. Lastly, we aim to create a website where we provide necessary information about the project.
What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?
Since both of us in the team received a scholarship we can fully dedicate ourselves this summer to materialize this idea. I have high expectations of what we can achieve during these months. Our main objective is to obtain quantitative information to compare our model with the current neoprene wetsuits.
Tell us what you have done on your projects so far during the Leapfrogs time:
We have created a smaller prototype which we have done some measurements on to determine its thermal insulation performance compared to current wetsuits. We’ve had meetings with a patent engineer to further discuss possibilities of producing a patent. We have also produced a finished website and bought a domain, and now trying to find proper web hosting to deploy the website. We have also considered mass production while designing our prototype to make it commercially viable.
Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected?
We managed to acquire access to equipment for measuring thermal conductivity of a material. However, these measurements turned out to be difficult due to our prototype not being homogeneous and to thin. Normally the samples they used with this measuring device where several centimetres thick while our sample is a few millimetres. We then decided to set up a new way of measuring the insulation performance. These measurements provided promising results, but their accuracy and credibility is not certain.
What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way?
Our first focus is to finish the website to supply information about us and our project, as well as determining a final design to provide sufficient elasticity while not compromising insulation performance. It is a process of trial and error where we measure performance and go back and redesign to reach the final design. We have already finished our goals on the original plan meaning we had to create new short-term goals along the way to ensure that we continue our rapid progress.
How did you experience the three months?
The last three months has been fantastic. It has been great to meet everyone and to see the different ideas. However, it has really been wonderful to realize our own idea. To make progress from day to day, and not one day similar to another. To be able to fully dedicate our time to this project has been crucial.
What has been hardest/most enjoyable?
So far, the “proof of concept” has been the hardest part. We tried performing the measurements needed on our own with equipment at the university without success. Instead we are going to send the samples to a third party which are going to perform the measurements with more suitable equipment. The most enjoyable part has been when people has shown excitement about our product/idea. It really inspires us to keep pursuing this venture.
Did it go as expected? Will you continue working on your project in the future?
Even though we’ve had some hurdles we keep moving forward. We will continue this project this fall, as well as writing a master thesis about heat transfer in these kinds of materials.
What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?
That you don’t have to have all the answers to start up. You can learn along the way. Wing it!
Do you have any tips to other ”new” entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to ask the people around you. Most of them have gone through similar problems, learn from their mistakes.