Date of Award

6-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Publisher

Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2018.

Department

Bioengineering

First Advisor

Emre Araci

Abstract

The Achilles tendon, which stretches from the calf to the ankle, can be injured due to repeated daily activities or overstretching. In severe cases a tear in the tendon can prevent athletes from performing in games as well as individuals from completing their daily tasks. Achilles tendon injuries affect millions of people. The severe pain that occurs upon injury can take months to improve and for the Achilles tendon to heal. Our goal is to design an auxetic support to provide comfort, help heal the tendon, and allow the individual to continue to be active through the natural healing process. The auxetic will help protect from further injury when the individual is active because when force is applied longitudinally it results in expansion laterally leading to a shortening of the tendon, which promotes healing. This support is fabricated using elastomer molds that incorporate auxetic patterning, which was determined through testing, to make the device active while the individual is moving while wearing the support. The pieces are individually made, then pieced together to form the heel portion of the support, which is the crucial component for Achilles tendon healing. With compression testing we discovered that the Young’s modulus of our auxetic structure is similar to that of the calcaneus tissue so it will be comfortable for the user. With shock absorption testing we were able to compare the energy absorption off our auxetic structure compared to bulk elastomers and foams. Overall, we believe the optimal auxetic heel support is comfortable and shock absorptive and heel supports should be made so they are capable of facilitating healing and protect from further injury of the Achilles tendon when an individual is active.

Available for download on Monday, December 31, 2018

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