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ZwickRoell supplies biaxial and triaxial testing machines to KU Leuven, Belgium

FIBEr is the Flanders Institute for Biomechanical Experimentation at KU Leuven (www.kuleuven.be/FIBEr). When it comes to research, KU Leuven ranks among the best universities in Europe. FIBEr is an institute for experimental characterization of biological tissues and aims at performing experiments that mimic in vivo conditions as closely as possible, and according to the highest academic standards.

A quantitative characterization of the mechanical behavior of biological tissues is crucial to understand mechanics-related pathologies (aneurysm formation, osteoporosis, …) and to provide the necessary building blocks for in silico testing of interacting mechanical devices (like helmets, surgical instruments or prostheses) and treatment methods. In silico testing not only reduces the need for animal testing, but also enables customized, patient-specific medical solutions.

KU Leuven has therefore equipped its laboratories with two ZwickRoell testing machines, one biaxial and one triaxial (extension-inflation-torsion), in order to obtain the required material properties for soft tissues such as arteries, veins, cartilage and even brain.

The biaxial tester imposes force or displacement along two perpendicular directions, using four independent actuators and load cells. Samples, 5x5 mm to 50x50 mm in size, can be either square or cruciform in shape and are mounted using rakes, sutures or clamps.

With the triaxial testing machine tubular samples with internal diameters from 1mm to 20 mm can be tested, by applying a programmed longitudinal force, a desired internal pressure and a torsion angle along the principal axis.

To conclude, FIBEr provides its customers with state-of-the-art solutions for the mechanical characterization of a wide range of biological tissues, that can be used to advance medical technology. This is partly made possible through results generated by the ZwickRoell testing systems.

A.Stress-stretch curves of sheep pulmonary arterial tissue generated with biaxial testing machine
B.MRI-scan of the same sheep, with a segment of pulmonary arterial tissue implanted in aortic position, i.e. simplified Ross procedure
C.Finite element simulation of this procedure, using A and B

Content provided by KU Leuven (with thanks).
Pictures Copyright: KU Leuven