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ENGINEERING

POLYMERIC MICROSPHERE EXTRUDER

Status:
Produced for:

Acknowledgments:
Completed as of 2014
Orthopaedic Bioengineering Laboratory at uOttawa, used as project topic in 3rd-year Electrical Circuits for Engineers course (ELG 3336)
Khadijah Ahmad and Sajid Khanpuri for help with programming and software.
Stanley Weedmark, Paul Burberry, and John Perrins for manufacturing the device.
 
The Polymeric Microsphere Extruder (PME) is a custom-made syringe pump platform being used, as of January 2014, to produce drug-infused microspheres for research conducted at Dr. Isabelle Catelas' Orthopaedic Bioengineering Laboratory at the University of Ottawa. The PME was designed to replace the unreliable setup being used at the time, and integrates all the elements required for the extrusion process into one cohesive, easy-to-use, and reliable system.
Video demonstrating the setup and operation of the PME.
The image on the left shows polymeric microspheres produced using the old setup while the image on the right depicts microspheres produced by the PME. The later are far more consistent in size and in shape. The microspheres are approximately 225 microns in diameter.
Several conceptual sketches were produced. These were accompanied by calculations used to determine gear ratios and flow rates, and to spec components.
In an attempt to reduce overall cost, significant effort was placed into sourcing standard and readily available parts.
During fabrication, a constant dialogue was maintained with the shop team to quickly address problems or to coordinate slight design changes. This communication was instrumental in learning how to properly design for manufacturing/assembly.
A piece of software was developed to interface with the PME in order to control the polymer extrusion process. Data, including flow rates, times, and volumes, can be saved to the computer after each run sequence.
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