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Bio-inspired Tribological Interfaces


Tribology of human tissue, with respect to develop healthcare and lifestyle products that interact with human body, gains much interest recently in the tribology field. Meanwhile, driven by the “green and human friendly tribology” strategies, biomimetics is emerging in tribology, since living creatures have developed highly elaborate systems for decreasing/increasing friction. It is expected that these designs can serve as models for engineering solutions and provide shortcuts to the design of tribological interfaces with the same functions.
Our goal is to generate bio-inspired tribological interface platforms for the design of human tissue contacting products. The project will combine (1) Exploration of nature’s approaches towards the development of anti-frictional systems or frictional systems; (2) Structure, physical-chemical properties and functional significance of biological surfaces and materials; (3) Tribo-chemical modeling of product-tissue interactions; (4) Active and tunable interfaces based on friction control, demonstrated by a design for an active Tribo-skin equivalent. The scope of the work will be limited to preliminary exploration.
The deciphering of nature’s approaches will open the door to new concepts in developing environment and human friendly tribological interfaces with improved functionality, that will increase energy efficiency, reduce healthcare cost and improve quality of life. The investigation on the combined effect of surface structure and chemistry and the establishment of tribo-chemical models, will substantially support successful mastering of current tribological challenges, like the optimised surface for sliding contacts of medical devices enabling minimal invasive surgery, and durable and energy efficient joint replacements and prostheses. The creation of novel active Tribo-skin equivalent will lead to fast and quantitatively assess skin-contacting products and more important it will significantly reduce animal and human tests.

Call for proposal

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Drienerlolaan 5
7522 NB Enschede

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Geert Dewulf (Prof.)
EU contribution
€ 100 000