Friday, 06 May 2022 12:00

Computational Mechanics of Biodegradable Materials for Medical Implant Applications


Biodegradable materials have the potential to form the basis for the next generation of vascular and orthopaedic medical implants as they reduce the need for revision/removal surgeries and avoid certain biocompatibility issues associated with conventional permanent implants. While both polymer- and metal-based biodegradable materials have been developed, several issues relating to poor mechanical performance and/or uncontrollable degradation behaviour has limited their use in implantable medical devices. In particular, the design of biodegradable medical implants is extremely challenging as their load-bearing capacity continuously evolves
during its lifetime. Ideally, degradation processes should proceed according to timescales that are synchronized with the natural growth and healing of the surrounding tissue, which presents further challenges. This talk presents an overview of the experimental and computational mechanics of both polymer- and metal-based biodegradable materials used in both cardiovascular and orthopaedic applications. In the case of polymers, computational modelling approaches that predict both short- and long-term performance of PLLA-based materials for coronary stenting applications will be presented. The talk will also consider the mechanics of
magnesium-based alloys in orthopaedic applications and demonstrate how mechano-regulation models can be used to predict implant-tissue interaction by considering the cellular processes that drive tissue damage, growth, and regeneration.


Dr Ted Vaughan is an Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Principal Investigator in the Biomechanics Research Centre at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He was awarded a BE (2007) and PhD (2011) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Limerick, with his doctoral thesis developing a micromechanical modelling framework to predict damage and failure in fibre-reinforced composite materials. Prior to his faculty appointment, he worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher (2011-2015) at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a Visiting Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Notre Dame. Currently, his research group focusses on the development of multiscale modelling approaches to enhance our understanding of tissue biomechanics, biomaterials and medical implants in both cardiovascular and orthopaedic fields.

He has authored more than 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals across these areas. In 2018, he was awarded Starter Grants from both the European Research Council and Irish Research Council. Dr Vaughan is also project coordinator of the BioImplant Marie-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN), a European Industrial Doctorate programme that is developing next-generation bioresorbable material technologies for orthopaedic and
cardiovascular implants. He works collaboratively with a range of national and international academic, industrial and clinical partners in the area of medical implant development through his expertise in experimental and computational biomechanics.

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