Computational modelling of microneedle insertion into the skin


Currently, vaccines are mainly administered intramuscular by injection with needle and syringe. These needles can cause fear and infection with blood-borne diseases. Microneedles represent a promising method to deliver antigens into the skin in a pain free manner (1). However, to effectively vaccinate with microneedles, it is essential to understand the process of skin penetration by the microneedles. The microneedles are assembled in an array and can be fabricated in a wide range of geometries. To make microneedle insertion into the skin reproducible we need to understand the influence of different variables in the microneedle array design.


The aim of this project is to predict the influence of different microneedle geometries on the insertion process using a 3D finite element model. The project will involve the development of a 3D finite element model in the software package Abaqus. Once a basic model is developed, a criterion for initial penetration of the skin needs to be defined. Subsequently, the influence of different design parameters on the penetration properties, like microneedle length and distance between mircroneedles, can be assessed using the criterion for initial penetration.


  1. Kim Y-C., Park J-H. & Prausnitz M.R. Microneedles for drug and vaccine delivery. Advanced drug delivery reviews, 64 (2012).
  2. Römgens, A.M., Oomens, C.W.J., Bader, D.L., Bouwstra, J.A. & Baaijens, F.P.T. (2013). Penetration depth and force of a single solid microneedle. Eindhoven: TUE: Materials Technology (Mate) group. Annual Mate Poster Award, 2013 (Winner jury prize).