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Mechanical Behaviour of Silicone Membranes Saturated with Short Strand, Loose Polyester Fibres for Prosthetic and Rehabilitative Surrogate Skin Applications

Advanced Textiles Research Group, Flexural Composites Research Laboratory, School of Art and Design, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham NG1 4GG, UK
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Materials 2019, 12(22), 3647; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12223647
Received: 4 October 2019 / Revised: 29 October 2019 / Accepted: 1 November 2019 / Published: 6 November 2019
Silicone-based elastomers saturated with embedded, short-strand fibres are used for their ability to mimic the aesthetic qualities of skin in clinical and theatrical maxillofacial appliance design. Well-known to prostheses fabricators and technicians, the mechanical impact of fibre addition on elastomeric behaviour endures as tacit, embodied knowledge of the craft, almost unknown in the literature. To examine mechanical changes caused by fibre addition, 100 modified polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomeric compounds containing incremental amounts of loose polyester fibres were prepared and examined in a variety of mechanical tests. It was found that elasticity and strain percentage at breaking point was reduced by increasing fibre content, but Young’s modulus and ultimate tensile strength (UTS) increased. As fibre content was increased, strain hardening was seen at low strain rates, but exaggerated plastic deformation at high strain rates. PDMS hardness increased by 5 degrees of hardness (Shore-00 scale) for every additional percentage of fibres added and a strong positive linear coefficient (0.993 and 0.995) was identified to reach the hardness values given in the literature for living human skin. The apparent reorienting of loose fibres in the PDMS interrupts and absorbs stress during the loading process similar to the organic response to soft tissue loading, except in extension. View Full-Text
Keywords: PDMS; silicone; fibre reinforced elastomers; prosthetic design; maxillofacial prosthesis; skin simulant PDMS; silicone; fibre reinforced elastomers; prosthetic design; maxillofacial prosthesis; skin simulant
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Arm, R.; Shahidi, A.; Dias, T. Mechanical Behaviour of Silicone Membranes Saturated with Short Strand, Loose Polyester Fibres for Prosthetic and Rehabilitative Surrogate Skin Applications. Materials 2019, 12, 3647.

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