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Mechanical Engineering

Strains on a swelling heart: Biomechanical Properties of Thoracic Aortic Dissections

Did you know that Einstein died of an aortic aneurysm that burst? An aortic aneurysm is the swelling or bulging of a section of the aorta, an artery that distributes oxygen from the heart to the other parts of the body. Such patients are also likely to develop an aortic dissection, where the inner layer of the aorta splits, causing the blood flowing within it to surge through the tear, which ultimately ends in a ruptured aorta. A crucial part of trying to predict the occurrence of this medical emergency is to know the mechanical properties of the aortic tissue. How much stress can the aorta sustain? Where is the strain greatest and at what point is the tissue likely to rupture? These are the questions that a group of scientists at the Indian Institute of Science have tried to answer.

Dr. Saptarshi Basu: Swarnajayanti Fellowship Awardee 2013-14

Dr. Saptarshi Basu, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), is an eminent researcher in the area of experimental thermal and fluid sciences. He has vast experience in various optical diagnostics techniques, such as laser-induced fluorescence, Rayleigh scattering and laser induced incandescence. His research focuses on the fundamental understanding of transport processes (mass, momentum, energy and species).

A new “biomaterial” for diagnostics and tissue implants

Biomaterials are used in devices that interact with the human body during diagnostic procedures and surgery, and in tissue implants. A new biomaterial that is elastic, conducts electricity and supports living cells was fabricated at IISc recently. It has promising applications in robotics and medicine. The article is published online in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B.

A wasp armed with a toothed, saw-like drill

Wasps lay eggs using an egg laying organ called the ovipositor. Some wasps lay eggs inside figs and need to drill through the fig fruit to do so. Researchers from IISc have unearthed the mechanism that these wasps use — they have teeth like projections on the ovipositor, like a saw. And that’s not all, these teeth are coated with zinc. Insights gained from this study may help us to build tools that aid in robot assisted surgery, and novel mechanisms to bore through hard surfaces.