Biomedical

By improving our understanding of how both natural and synthetic materials perform and interact within the human body, we aid the discovery and development of refined alternatives, enabling us all to live a more fulfilling life.

Many would imagine biomedical tribology is limited to replacement joints; however, this is not the case. Research has long been conducted to develop and improve the tribosystems found in a whole range of biomedical appliances. These are not only limited to replacement joints but also contact lenses, medicines and dental implants to name a few. PCS’ instruments are used by researchers around the world to help push this work forward, facilitating advancements that can change people’s lives for the better.

Tribology plays a key role in the development of medicines, primarily in how medicines are delivered into the body, with particular focus on how smoothly both solid and liquid medicines can travel down the oesophagus, and whether they coat it as they do or slide straight through. For contact lenses, the importance of tribology is more obvious. The interfaces between a contact lens and an eyeball, and the contact lens and an eye lid are what drive how comfortable a contact lens is for its wearer. Without in-depth research and investigation of these interfaces, people could be left with uncomfortable or even dangerous lenses.

For replacement joints, tribological research is vital in understanding how effective materials and coatings will be when in situ. For example, research is ongoing on the effectiveness of replacement synovial joints. These joints (e.g. knee and hip joints) are continuously transmitting large dynamic loads whilst accommodating a wide range of movements. Due to trauma and diseases – such as osteoarthritis – these joints occasionally need to be replaced by artificial implants. Tribology research considers the friction, wear and lubrication of natural and artificial joints including the wear debris from the joint implants, and the human body’s reaction to this.

Biomedical industry research areas include:

  • Contact lenses
  • Prosthetics
  • Replacement joints
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Dental fillings

Biomedical Industry includes the following:

Artificial Joints

Artificial Joints

Artificial joints typically comprise of two surfaces rubbing against each other, the core of tribology. Researchers conduct extensive work examining this interaction between parts and how they will act when in the body.

Biomaterials

Biomaterials

Biomaterials, be they artificial or natural, interact with biological systems. The study of this interaction is crucial in designing biomaterials that work harmoniously with the world around us.

Dental

Dental

Teeth interact daily with each other, with food and with your toothbrush. Understanding these contacts is important for designing everything from toothbrushes, to replacement teeth and implants.

Ocular

Ocular

The eye is a particularly delicate tribosystem and is an area of intense research. The contact lens-to-eye and to eye lid interfaces must be perfect to make sure they stay comfortable and in place all day.

Orthopaedics

Orthopaedics

A greater understanding of the body and how different joints work, how they degrade and how they can be damaged is being gained from tribological research into orthopaedics.

Pharma

Pharma

Tribology is a common research area in pharma for many reasons, an example is how pills and liquid medicines interact with the oesophagus, whether they need to coat it or slide smoothly through.

Instruments for the Biomedical Industry

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Biomedical Industry Articles & Papers

Paper

Gels and Oil-in-Water Emulsions: a Stepwise, Rheology- and Tribology-Focused Approach

Gels and oil-in-water emulsions are widely used in food, pharmaceutical, and personal care applications. In the case of emulsions, they …

Gels and oil-in-water emulsions are widely used in food, pharmaceutical, and personal care applications. In the case of emulsions, they can be either stabilized by an amphiphilic molecule, forming classical emulsions, or by colloidal particles, forming a Pickering emulsion. These systems exhibit rich rheological and frictional characteristics and factors such as component concentration and/or interactions can affect their final properties. Thus, their characterization is fundamental to understanding their performance from product development to final use. This dissertation provides insights on how to manipulate properties of multicomponent gels and emulsions based on their components, guiding the formulation of products with desired rheological and lubrication properties. For that, we focus on two groups of systems: 1) classical oil-in-water emulsions containing microgel-forming polymers and phospholipids as well as several simplified versions of these systems, and 2) Pickering emulsions stabilized by nanodiamond particles.

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Paper

Salivary Lubricity (Ex Vivo) Enhances Upon Moderate Exercise: A Pilot Study

This study sought to examine the effects of moderate intensity exercise on lubrication performance of saliva. We hypothesized that exercise …

This study sought to examine the effects of moderate intensity exercise on lubrication performance of saliva. We hypothesized that exercise would result in enhanced salivary lubricity by direct sympathetic stimulation of the salivary proteins…
In total, 11 healthy young pre-menopausal female participants (mean age: 24.4 ± 1.8 years, BMI: 22.1 ± 1.9 kg/m2) were included in a within-subjects repeated measures experimental design. Unstimulated whole saliva was collected at rest (S0), immediately after 45 min of moderate intensity cycling at ∼70 % maximum heart rate (mean: 133.4 ± 0.8 bpm) or time-match quiet rest (S1), and after a 60 min of recovery period (S2). Ex vivo salivary lubricity were measured using soft tribology. Total protein content, mucin (MUC5B) concentration, and α-amylase activity were determined.

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