Cover-up costs Britain a ten year lead in developing SALi Technology
We Brit’s have a long history of coming up with profitable inventions, and then leaving others to gain from them. Computers, the jet engine, penicillin, body scanners, radar and railways are some of the many British inventions that have made other nations rich.
If you want to witness how our sad history is repeating itself, please read on.
SALi based suspension units
were invented in Britain by Bill Courtney, but their technical
development is being led by China.
Britain vs. China
What Britain is losing:
1. The SALi suspension unit concept
The diagram below illustrates the prototype suspension unit specified in the CrashSALi research contract.
Unlike the SALi filled car bumpers described on the PedSALi page, suspension units must be made from high quality elastic materials that can be subjected to many millions of compression cycles without degrading.
Here is the design
Figure 1. The British prototype suspension unit
lightweight unit does not require any precision made parts, so
manufacturing costs should be low. The design could be used for a wide
range of vibration isolation applications in mechanical and civil
The CrashSALi Project (2002-3) was a 65% British taxpayer funded
feasibility study into
crash protection and vehicle suspension applications of SALi. Cheshire
Innovation paid the balance. Copies of
the research contract are held by The Small Business Service and
How Britain lost a ten year technology lead
For some puzzling reason that has never been explained, the contractually agreed materials were not used for the Manchester University research.
Figure 2. The materials specified in the contract were not investigated.
University research results were an embarrassing nonsense. They could not be used to attract
commercial interest in Britain.
Chinese are stealing SALi Technology prospects from under out noses. Bill
lost his £140,000 retirement savings working with Manchester University
trying to develop SALi Technology. After spending many thousands of Pounds
on British, French, German and American patents he ran out of funds and
the patents were abandoned. This means that the Chinese can now develop
SALi Technology without breaching patent law.
2. The successful Chinese research on SALi suspension units
July 2009, a diligent Cardiff University student who was working with Bill Courtney made a
disturbing discovery: state funded research into SALi based vibration
isolators is making rapid progress in China. Unlike the Manchester
research, the Chinese work is enviably good!
Bill promptly wrote to the authors, but they
were not interested in a British-Chinese collaboration. They have also
refused to sign a licensing agreement to legitimise their work.
The authors published high quality research, similar to what should have been done at Manchester University.
For example, their multiple
compression tests, showed no tailing off in performance.
Figure 3. This Chinese graph, (originally published as Figure 10 in reference 1) demonstrates that if the right materials are used, a SALi based suspension system makes a full recovery after each vibration.
Q. Did the Manchester researchers produce similar results?
A. No. Instead of subjecting the SALi suspension system to a series of vibrations they simply dropped a heavy weight onto the suspension unit so that it was compressed once. Consequently the deterioration in performance caused by using poor materials did not show up.
The Chinese researchers conclude:
Reference 2 above, page 4.
This promise of “outstanding performance and a good prospect in engineering practice” should be a wakeup call to a sleepy Britain. China is developing know-how that could take engineering jobs from Britain as we move out of recession.
Nanjing papers include plagiarised material from Bill's 1998 MPhil
research thesis. This material is very difficult to get hold of, because
the thesis remains unpublished.
Figure 4. This
is a reproduction of Figure 1 in Teng and. Chen, reference 1 above.
Figure 5. This is a reproduction of Figure 6.4
Courtney, W. A.,
Preliminary investigations into the mechanical properties and potential
applications of a novel shock absorbing liquid, MPhil Thesis,
Manchester School of Engineering, University of Manchester (1998)
What can be done to prevent Britain sleepwalking into a technology "failed state"?
If Britain wants to learn lessons, to protect our manufacturing sector, the following questions require answers:
Q. How did an unpublished British engineering thesis end up in Chinese hands?
Q. Why did the Formal Enquiry at
Manchester University ignore the evidence?
Q. Why did the government remain passive when presented
with evidence that publicly funded research into a British invention was
botched and then covered up?
A second example of wasted British research on SALi Technology
For their bad bumper research the Manchester workers used the right filling, but the wrong packaging.!
Come on Britain
WE CAN STILL BEAT THE FOREIGN COMPETITION !
Excellent work on SALi Technology has been done at Cardiff University.
Here are two examples of good SALi research at Cardiff University
Here is the reference
Davies, H., Holford, K., Assoune, A., Trioulier, B., Courtney, B. 2009. Pedestrian Protection Using a Shock Absorbing Liquid (SALi) Based Bumper System. 21st International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles, Stuttgart 2009.
Q. So what is holding the British research back
A. The Cardiff research was limited in scope because it was done without the support of public funding.
Q. The British government is committed to backing innovation research, so why can't you get a fair share of it?
government has already provided generous public funding for the bad SALi
research at Manchester.
A timeline showing the key events as Britain lost its technology lead to China
Wake up, sleepy Britain!
Extract from Lord Sainsbury's letter
(The government turns a blind eye to bad innovation research)
Bill Courtney comments, "This letter provides clear evidence that the government failed to exercise due diligence, to protect British taxpayer funds. As a result, we Brits have lost, and the Chinese have gained.
But the problem is far worse
Extract from the profit sharing agreement with Manchester University
Why this is important
Bill Courtney is "A proud Manchester
man" by birth and long association with the University.
This contract shows that he "puts his money where his mouth is."
But a tiny minority of Manchester University employees have crushed the development of SALi to meet their own private needs.
MIL was the (then) business arm of the Victoria University of Manchester. Its officers always acted professionally when dealing with Bill Courtney. They played no part in the subsequent intimidating activities discussed below.
Bill Courtney refused to approve the transfer of public funds to Manchester University until the CrashSALi work was done correctly.
When Graham Brady MP started asking awkward questions about the SALi research at Manchester University, the University tried to discredit Courtney by using Eversheds Solicitors to pursue him for debt recovery.
Manchester University was a profit and loss
sharing partner with Cheshire Innovation. It appears to have withheld this
information from its solicitors. It seems to have created the false
impression that it was an honourable service provider who was owed money.
Q. Was Eversheds deceived by Manchester University?
Bill pointed out to Eversheds that he was a profit and risk sharing
partner of the University who was trying to defend the public purse,
not a defaulting debtor, their intimidating letters ceased.
The Formal Enquiry Panel should have investigated this complaint.
How a Formal Enquiry whitewashed the Manchester research failings
As discussed on the PedSALi page, the University held a Formal Enquiry into Courtney’s complaints about the failings of the CrashSALi and PedSALi projects.
Q. Did Courtney submit evidence to the Enquiry about the intimidating use of Eversheds, to pressurise him into approving payment for bad CrashSALi research?
Yes , but there is no
reference to Courtney's evidence in the Report.
Q. How did the Report explain the failure to carry out research into suspension units using the materials laid down in the contract?
A. The Formal Enquiry Report foes does not offer an explanation or make any reference to the materials used. Instead, as we explain on the PedSALi page, it created false evidence against Courtney, implying that he was an unreliable inventor who could not be trusted.
Q.Traditionally bad research is exposed when other researchers subsequently do the correct work. In the present case, good CrashSALi type research was done in China. Were the good Chinese research findings submitted to the Enquiry for comparative examination?
Yes the good research was
submitted for examination but it is not mentioned in the Formal Enquiry
Visit the PedSALi page for details about how you can check the University side of this story.
PedSALi web page.