The biomechanics laboratories at Cranfield University are a world-renowned research-active academic group and a specialised facility comprising two fully-equipped laboratories which are able to receive and investigate human and biological remains in a safe and secure manner.
About the facility
The laboratories have recently been involved in a project for the 'forensic determination of age at time of death from the analysis of bone structure'. They hosted tests of whole bone in impact and high strain rates to simulate automotive accident scenarios for the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and for industry or legal clients.
In another exciting project, researchers, for the first time worldwide, quantified the fracture toughness of cancellous bone and looked into ways of assessing it non-invasively.
The facilities are used mostly for orthopaedic biomechanics/tissue mechanics research testing and evaluation of human material (bone, spine, tendons, ligaments, fasciae etc) in addition to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research duties.
The equipment available can be set to characterise the elastic, toughness and rheological properties of any natural tissue or biomaterial; the failure of biological materials and structures, or provide forensic evidence for impact and trauma biomechanics.
- Able to receive and investigate human and biological remains in a safe and secure manner.
- Characterisation of the elasticity, toughness and rheological properties of any natural tissue or biomaterial.
- Ability to provide forensic evidence for impact and trauma biomechanics.
- Health and safety requirements are strictly complied with and all the necessary safety protocols and specified construction standards, materials and equipment are in place.
Using the facility
- Bone biomechanics – research is underway to study the various aspects of ageing and other pathophysiological human bone.
- The fracture-toughness of cancellous bone was for the first time evaluated, measured and analysed in the biomechanics laboratories in Shrivenham as part of BOSCOS, a major industrial consortium (funded by the DfT), which aimed to evaluate the in-car use of novel ultrasound sensors to assess the skeletal condition of car occupants and optimise the response of restrain systems in crash situations.
- The forensic determination of 'age at time of death' by analytical laboratory examination of the bone matrix. Dr Peter Zioupos has developed an improved method for determining a person’s age at the time of death from small samples of bone and with a level of accuracy previously not obtainable.
- Biomechanics of ACL reconstructions – damage of the cruciate ligaments, caused when the knee is twisted too far, and the anterior cruciate ligament in particular, causes instability and disability. Cranfield University and the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital have already attempted to improve reconstructive techniques.