Scaling in biomechanical experimentation: a finite similitude approach
Journal: Royal Society Interface
Publication Date: 15 June, 2018
Scaled experimentation in biomechanics
There are a variety of problems that arise when considering biomechanical experimentation ranging from hazardous pathogens to ethical concerns. Researchers at the University of Manchester have investigated the idea of replacing hazardous biomaterials with benign artificial materials manufactured using 3D printing technologies. The researchers have shown that through scaled experimentation and the precise design of scaled physical models constructed with printed materials that it is possible to achieve precise representations of biomechanical systems. The approach is founded on the newly discovered concept of finite similitude. The concept is relatively simple to visualise, where one imagines a biosystem being scaled by the contraction of space. Finite similitude is established when the behaviour of the scaled experiment reproduces exactly the unscaled behaviour. The idea that model materials can be printed with designed properties is an intriguing possibility that has wide-ranging implications both inside and outside the field of biomechanics and could lead to greater use of scaled experimentation. The research at Manchester demonstrates the applicability of the concepts to skeletal structures with bone replicated by 3D printed materials and is expected to lead to systems for the testing of implants and prostheses, and the analysis of combinations of organic and inorganic systems under laboratory conditions.
- The work presents the first use of space distortion for scaled biomechanical experimentation.
- The work draws on modern 3D printing technologies for the construction of representative scaled biomechanical models.