Department of Biomedical Engineering

Biomechanics of Soft Tissues

The mission of the group is to educate students in the biomechanics of soft tissues with emphasis on both computational as well as experimental methods. This includes development of constitutive models for solids and mixtures, including growth, adaptation and damage development. Experimental techniques involve in-vivo and ex-vivo mechanical testing at multiple scales, microscopic techniques and inverse methods.

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understand and predict the behaviour of biological structures and organs

Biomechanics has always played an important role in biomedical engineering and forms an integral part of a multi-disciplinary approach to clinical and biological problems. Biomechanical modelling became an essential tool to understand and predict the behaviour of biological structures and organs, from the molecular scale up to the full body scale. This involved the solution of solid/fluid interaction problems and the transport of small and large molecules in tissues. A lot of effort was put in dynamical time dependent variations, which are so specific for biological tissues like growth, adaptation and degradation.

The research comprises two related research lines and is a good example of the trend in research methodology that is described above.  The first line is aimed at the prevention of Pressure Ulcers (PUs) with three major objectives: 1. Understanding the mechanisms that cause PUs 2. Develop a method to identify patients at risk. 3. Develop a method for early detection of ulcers that start to develop in deep tissue layers near the bony prominences. The second research line involves biomechanics of skin, strongly related to conditions associated with PUs (studies on skin irritation and biomarkers), but also focused on other application areas (interaction of skin with personal care devices and trans-epidermal drug delivery). The above-mentioned applications required detailed knowledge of mechanical properties like stiffness and strength as well as transport properties  (diffusion coefficients, permeability) at a very local level in the top layers of the skin.

Meet some of our Researchers

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Aetiology of Pressure Ulcers

An important theme is aimed at understanding the aetiology and to develop methods for early detection of pressure ulcers. This has led to the identification of a new damage mechanism, strongly correlated with the level of tissue deformation and much faster than ischaemic damage. Next to this damage thresholds and temporal contributions of individual damage mechanisms were described. This has found its way to international guidelines for prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers. Currently this knowledge is used, to improve the design of patient support systems, clinical unloading protocols and patient handling strategies.

Skin Mechanics

This line is aimed at the development of methods to study the mechanical properties of human skin on macro and micro scale, using in-vivo and ex-vivo experimental set-ups. This involves a detailed study of the top layers of skin and inclusion of material laws describing damage, growth and adaptation of skin. Next to this methods to measure skin reactions based using bio-chemical markers and biophysical markers are explored.  Constitutive laws are implemented in commercial Finite Element Codes to enable translation and dissemination of knowledge. Application areas are the interaction of skin with devices, trans-epidermal drug delivery and early diagnosis of skin disease.

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Contact

  • Postal address

    P.O. Box 513
    Department of Biomedical Engineering Eindhoven University of Technology
    5600 MB Eindhoven
    Netherlands
  • Visiting address

    Building 15, Gemini-South (room 4.115) Groene Loper
    Eindhoven University of Technology
    5612 AZ Eindhoven
    Netherlands
  • Secretary