Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Mark Rentschler

Second Advisor

Virginia Ferguson

Third Advisor

Kenneth D. Taylor

Fourth Advisor

Kendall Hunter

Fifth Advisor

John Daily

Abstract

Tissue fusion is a method of joining biological tissues using heat and pressure. Tissue fusion has been used effectively for the ligation of blood vessels during surgery, which is performed by clamping the blood vessel closed and then applying heat to the tissue. During tissue fusion, the structural proteins in the tissue denature, water is vaporized, and a bond is formed between the tissues. The mechanics and mechanisms of the tissue fusion bond are still unknown and to this end, experiments were developed to elucidate the crucial parameters necessary to fuse tissue and measure the mechanical response of the bond. The strategy to understand direct heat arterial tissue fusion was a three-pronged approach: i) experimental measurement of the conditions in the tissue during fusion, ii) experimental measurement of tissue fusion strength, and iii) modeling of heat transfer and water dependent tissue properties with comparison to experimental temperature data. The results from this body of work suggest that fusion strength is a function of time, temperature, applied force, and tissue water content. The experimental data also correlates increased fusion strength with increased water loss during fusion. This work supports the hypothesis that water driven out of the tissue enables bonding of the extra-cellular matrix proteins.

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