Dipartimento d'Ingegneria

Biomedical engineering - Bioingegneria

Bioengineering applies engineering principles and methodologies to biological and medical sciences to better understand biological phenomena, to develop new techniques and devices, to improve patient care.
Research programs include:

The design and analysis of medical devices and implants – Applications to orthodontic, orthopaedic, cardiovascular, and musculo-skeletal systems: they are studied both numerically (finite element models, multibody models) and experimentally (strain gauges, differential thermography, etc.) in order to assess and to optimize stress/strain distributions. Detailed geometrical models are built form CT, RM, laser scans through reverse engineering techniques.

Impact biomechanics - Impact biomechanics is dedicated to injury prevention through environmental control. Its goals are the protection of vehicle occupants, of pedestrians, of workers, of athletes. The research is based on finite elements numerical models, calculated by explicit solvers.

Ergonomics - Biomechanical principles are applied to the design, analysis and optimization of workplaces and of sport equipment, in order to reduce musculoskeletal disorders. In vivo measures allow assessing the human exposure to physical agents, and the respective human response.

Tissue mechanics - Researches focus on material characterization of native and healing biological tissues as well as tissue engineered biomaterial constructs. Material testing methods and constitutive models are used to describe the mechanical behaviors of these tissues in compression, tension and shear. Both hyperelastic and viscous behaviors are considered.

Tissue engineering in silico - Design of bioreactors and optimization of their operative conditions taking into account cellular and chemical parameters for tissue growth, covering the processes of cellular proliferation, differentiation, movement, attrition, matrix secretion and remodeling. Multiphysics FEM analisys involving CFD, Chemical and Structural Mechanics modules.

Artificial turf is being used more and more often. It is more available than natural turf for use, requires much less maintenance and new products are able to comply with sport performance and athletes' safety. The purpose of this researchis to compare the mechanical and biomechanical responses of two different artificial turf infills (styrene butadiene rubber, from granulated vehicle tires, and thermoplastic rubber granules) and to compare them to the performance of natural fields where amateurs play (beaten earth, substantially). Three mechanical parameters have been calculated from laboratory tests: energy storage, energy losses and surface traction coefficient; results have been correlated with peak accelerations recorded on an instrumented athlete, on the field. The natural ground proved to be stiffer (-15% penetration depth for a given load), and to have a lower dynamic traction coefficient (-48%); the different kinds of infill showed significantly different stiffnesses (varying by more than 23%) and damping behaviour (varying by more than 31%). In running, peak vertical accelerations were lowest in the artificial ground with thermoplastic rubber granules, while, in slalom, both artificial grounds produced higher horizontal peak accelerations compared to the natural ground. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for athletic performance and injury risk.

A new device for 3D oral scanning has been designed and tested: it is a two channel PTOF (pulsed time-of-flight) laser scanner, designed for dental and industrial applications in the measurement range of zero to a few centimetres. The application on short distances (0–10 cm) has entailed the improvement of performance parameters such as single shot precision, average precision and walk error up to mm-level and to µm-level respectively.
The single-shot precision (σ-value) has resulted to range from 43 to 63 ps (9–10 mm), having considered the measurement range (6.5–10 mm) corresponding to 1–2 V signal; this result agrees well with estimates made from simulations. The average precision has resulted to be dependent on the number of measurements and can reach a value equal to ±25 µm, whenever the measurements frequency is sufficiently high. For example, if the required scanning speed is 1000 points/s and the required average precision is ±25 µm, then a pulses frequency of 30–50 MHz is needed, considering signal amplitude varying between 1–2 V.
On the whole, the performance of this new device, based on PTOF has proven to be adequate to its employment in the field of restorative dentistry.

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