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Title: An experimental study of friction between skin and nonwoven fabrics
Author: Asimakopoulos, V.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 9822
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Incontinence is a common health problem among the human population, especially females. Although there have been many efforts to develop cures not all sufferers can be fully cured. A way to deal with this large portion of incontinence sufferers is pads. The continuous usage of pads creates some problems, though. The most common cause of these problems is friction between pads and skin. In order to describe friction, David Cottenden developed a mathematical model for describing friction between a conformable sheet and a curved surface. Previous work has already validated the model for strips of nonwoven fabric on rigid convex prisms and low – half angle cones . The aim of this project was to extend the validation to (i) large – half angle rigid cones (whose surfaces approximate to portions of the body); (ii) human volar forearms and (iii) highly compliant cylinders. In the first part of the project I validated the model for an example nonwoven fabric on rigid (Plaster of Paris) cones with half angles of 25°, 35° and 45°. As predicted by the model, the data for all fabric footprints on all cones fell on the same master curve, within experimental error. In the second part of the project, I used the volar forearms of young and older female participants. In this way I had the opportunity to test the model on real human skin (smooth and wrinkled) and different substrates (firm and flaccid tissues) as they varied between young and older subjects. Moreover, I observed the changing geometry of arms during experiments, especially the behaviour of – often wrinkled and flaccid – older arms and see how the model responded. I used strips of five different nonwoven fabrics investigating not only how the substrate affected the model, but also how behaviour varied between fabrics. The agreement between experimental data and model predictions was excellent for all fabrics. In the third part of the project, I used the same five fabrics on compliant cylinders made of soft silicone membrane “skins”. These cylinders helped me investigate how the model responded for extreme deformations (rucking) which were much greater than humans could have tolerated. Again, agreement between experiment and model was remarkably good. In summary, all three blocks of experimental work provided further validation of Cottenden’s model, increasing confidence that it can be used in future work to understand friction over the curved surfaces of the body and help develop products kinder to the skin.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available