PROJECT DETAILS:Skin Tribology: Understanding the effect on bony prominences on the development of formation of pressure ulscers. 


Aims and Objectives: Pressure ulcers have become a global burden in both developed and developing countries. Whilst much research has been done to study the friction of skin-textile couples; the mechanisms and interactions between contact mechanics, the emollients and lubricants used and ulcer formation are not well understood.


Traditional tribological lubrication theory has been applied to many of these situations in an attempt to provide a quantitative parameter in which to assess skin-textile couples. Friction under pure sliding lubricated/un-lubricated conditions (typical sliding distance 50-100mm) is typically used as a method of quantifying the propensity of pressure ulcer formation. Yet this is not a scenario that will typically lead to ulceration; ulcers most commonly develop in individuals who are not moving about, such as being bedridden or those who are confined to a wheelchair. Questions still remain as to how the slip mechanisms and contact mechanics contribute to the formation and evolution of pressure ulcers and their interactions with system variables such as contaminant, counter-body material and emollient systems under realistic loading conditions.


​Objectives include:

  • Conducting a comprehensive literature review in the area of tribology specific to skin and personal care products to establish the current state of the art.

  • Assess the basic interactions between tribological factors such as slip mechanism, contact pressure, material couple and microclimate will be assessed with respect to pressure ulcer formation.

Project Updates:

Team Report Jan 2016

Group Poster Jan 2016