By Liz White, UT staff London-Derek Muir, a design student from the University of Huddersfield in the UK, won this year's 'Design Innovation in Plastics' competition, sponsored by Bayer MaterialScience. Muir designed a quiet toilet seat, praise by the judges for design, aesthetics and careful choice of material-integral skin polyurethane foam. The student wins £1000 and a one-week, expenses-paid work placement with Bayer at the company's headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany. Muir's 'Stingray' toilet seat reduces the noise of flushing by 40 percent and he describes it as ideally suited for parents who do not want to wake up young children at night. The underside of the seat forms a complete seal around the rim, cutting out the water noise, while use of Bayflex PU for the seat makes it comfortable, chemically resistant and easy to clean.This year's competition was on the theme 'sound design', and entries predominantly used integral skin polyurethane foam. Some 348 students registered and 85 submitted an entry and the judges whittled these down to just eight finalists.Martin Sixsmith, head of Bayer MaterialScience for the UK and Ireland presented Muir with his award at a ceremony at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in London. "Derek had genuinely thought about how his design could be produced, considering issues such as material and tooling costs and environmental issues. One of the most pleasing things for me personally, was how he used the properties and advantages of moulded polyurethane in the correct manner. This was one of our main objectives in sponsoring the competition, and I think we got the message across," said Sixsmith.Second prize went to Huw Roberts (University of Glamorgan) for a "Life Buoy System," intended to be installed on the banks of rivers and lakes, while Adam Eager from the University of Northumbria won third prize for "Sight and Sound Speakers" small, eye-catching loudspeakers designed as a "solution for unintelligible announcements" in train stations, for example. "