A prototype of a rapid setting composite splint that could be used to help stabilize injuries in the battlefield and in everyday life.
 
Photo: Courtesy NIAR
WSU research could improve prognosis for battlefield injuries
May 6, 2013 3:30 PM | Print
Share

Leg and arm injuries sustained in the battlefield are made worse when splinting devices used by military medics don't provide ideal stabilization of the injured extremity.

But a project under way by Wichita State University research engineer Kim Reuter aims to change that. Reuter is working on the development of novel materials for a fast-setting composite stabilization device.

It would initially enable shape manipulation and then harden to create a stiff, protective, custom-shaped splint. The splint would provide more stability than current devices being used today, Reuter said.

The important features of the splint include portability, ease of use and improved support and protection.

Why is this so important?

Reuter said protecting injured limbs from further vascular, neural and soft tissue damage during transport to a medical treatment center will result in less bleeding, less pain, and faster recovery.

It could also provide a potentially life-altering benefit to the injured person.

"The increased protection and support during transport could mean the difference between keeping or losing a limb," Reuter said.

Along with use in the battlefield, the improved splints could be used in daily life – added to first aid kit for emergency responders, athletic trainers, school nurses, outdoor enthusiasts, or parents. 

Outperforming traditional splints

The project is paid for by a $1.39 million grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. The grant was awarded in 2011 to WSU, and the work is being completed by NIAR's Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopedic Research (CIBOR).

The composite materials being researched for the splint include a resin that instantly begins to cure when it comes in contact with the reinforcement fabric; and a resin that is mixed in a closed-air environment and, when exposed to oxygen, begins to polymerize.

In preliminary trials, these composite splints outperformed the traditional splint currently being used by the military. Reuter, who is in her second year working in this project, said the next steps are to finalize the material selection, fabricate prototypes and perform testing.

"This is just one of the many ways that the composite technology of the aerospace industry can be applied to the medical industry," Reuter said. "The CIBOR team is excited to be exploring composites for orthopedic applications."

This story has been tagged Faculty/Staff, Research, NIAR. See all RSS feeds here
Created on May 6, 2013 3:30 PM; Last modified on May 28, 2013 3:52 PM
#
HEADLINES RSS Feed
WSU makes case for special funding priorities
Revisions made to parking plan
High School Guest Program offering $500 scholarships
Collaboration to benefit WSU students
WSU camps introduce youth to engineering
Multi-disciplinary field study
WSU Foundation finishes strong year
WSU director to speak on racial profiling
WSU research uses all types of people
Shuttle system adds new stops
Permits to be required to park on main campus
WSU names new director of AEGD program
WSU reorganizes admin structure
WSU, WuShock logo at IndyCar Series
WSU hosting ACT Prep Workshop
New Health Professions dean honored
Wichita State welcomes FarmHouse fraternity to campus
WSU grad overcame tragedy to earn her degree
Flint Hills Media Project covers Butler County
WSU to host forums for returning adults
'Forty Years/Forty Stories' at WSU museum
© 1995-2014 Wichita State University. All rights reserved.
Valid HTML 401