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Career Episode One: C.E.

C.E.1.1 This project was performed from July/2010 to July/2011, it was developed during my
Mechanical Engineering studies at University Centre of FEI, in So Bernardo do Campo
Brazil, it was compulsory for all Engineering students to receive their diploma and
Engineering certificate. Students were separated into 4 different groups with 7 students
per group, the Professor chose a topic for each group, and based on this topic, students
had to develop the concept of the project and make several presentations during the
year to detail the project goals and achievements. My groups topic was related to body
and machinery. In the end, the name of the project was Extracorporeal blood pump.


C.E.1.2 The University Centre of FEI is one of the most famous Engineering Universities in
Brazil; well known in all of South America and Europe, mainly for graduating
professionals in Mechanical Engineering. Furthermore, to have a certificate from this
University, we had to study for 6 years and in the 5th year of our studies, in addition to
the normal disciplines, we had to start developing our project for the courses
conclusion, compulsory for those who wanted to be recognized as Engineers.

C.E.1.3 The idea of the project was to check if you assimilated Engineering subjects and to prove
that you were able and capable to work in the industry. Using this idea, the Professor
gave the class 4 different topics: body and machinery, air, nature and power. The
students were divided by subject and so with my group we made a decision matrix to
decide in which direction we were going to develop our project.

C.E.1.4 Two or three weeks later, we were deciding between two ideas: Artificial Heart, that a
patient could live with the system inside his chest during his life, or Extracorporeal
blood pump, improving the actual systems for heart surgery, when the patient has his
heart completely switched off and connected to a mechanical blood pump during a
cardiac surgery. After some more studies, we realized that the Artificial Heart was
already very well developed and several people in the world were already living with this
kind of auxiliary equipment, then we decided to study and develop our project for an
Extracorporeal blood pump system. My responsibility in the beginning of the project was
going to the hospital to watch a heart surgery (only equipment) and to bring an overview
of ideas to the group.

C.E.1.5 At this point, we had already defined the project scope, and it was: to project an
extracorporeal blood pump, minimizing the trauma caused to the blood, increasing levels
of security and reliability.
Personal Work Place Activity
C.E.1.6 First, I will give a very quick explanation about how the surgery works and the role of the
machines in this matter. A blood flow bypass is necessary when the movements of the
heart and lung must be stopped during a cardiac surgery, diverting the blood through a
secondary course, where machines oxygenate (instead of the lungs) and pump it (instead
of the heart), then returning it to the patient under physiologically adequate conditions.

C.E.1.7 After my visit to the hospital, and understanding in loco how a surgery procedure works,
I described to my group that the surgery can last from 6 to 10 hours. The patients heart
is switched off and an artificial heart is switched on instead. This artificial heart is three
roller pumps (in series) that work pumping the blood through tubes until it returns to the
patients body. The tubes are made of surgical plastic (silicone) and all the parameters
during the procedure are controlled by the doctors. Holding this information, we divided
our group into 3 different study fronts, material and pump, design and presentation
and quotations.

C.E.1.8 During my studies about the current pump and surgerys techniques, I discovered some
drawbacks that we decided to use as an appeal for our project, such as: Limited surgery
time (10 hours), loss of oxygen in the bloodstream during surgery (trauma caused by the
roller pump and mechanical valves), absence of pulsation in blood, and human
parameters control (which was one of the most common causes of patient death).

C.E.1.9 Instead of using a roller pump, I had the idea of using the concept of a bag, where inside
the bag we have the flow of blood and outside we have a fluid being compressed by a
linear motor. This idea could eliminate almost all of the biggest problems found. The
proposed bag was going to work pulsating (exactly as a heart) which could give more
pressure for the blood to reach the capillaries, that was enough to avoid skin gangrene
and help to increase the surgerys time limitations.

C.E.1.10 For the trauma caused to the blood, I found on the internet the same valves used in
Artificial Hearts, which are made by bovine pericardia, the most similar material
compared to human skin. It can be found in different sizes (according to the patients
weight), is easy to replace, and resilient. Retiring the roller pump (replacing with a
pulsation bag) and the mechanical valves (replacing with natural valves) our system was
able to significantly decrease the trauma caused to the blood.

C.E.1.11 The idea of a linear motor was developed and our Professor led us to an electromagnetic
motor. Its main features were based on the possibility of controlling some parameters
such as velocity, strength, displacement and acceleration. The advantages were related
to versatility (the same engine could be used for different patients), smooth movement
and automatic control (it wouldnt depend on the doctor anymore).

C.E.1.12 To dimension the system, I took note of general parameters which have to be taken into
consideration during the surgery:

Max. Blood flow: 8L/min

Cardiac frequency: 60bpm
Displaced volume per pulse: 134mL
Max pressure considering loss in the system: 1bar
Power (calculated): 14W

Prototype Photo

C.E.1.13 Working out some calculations for dimensioning and creating the final design, I could
explain the reasons for the bags shape and the linear motor. Acting alternately with the
two biological valves, the diaphragm due to changing its volume provides energy to
blood as pressure, being able to circulate through the system. The bag that involves the
diaphragm is responsible for pressuring the fluid which is in contact with the external
part of the diaphragm, warping it through the Pascal Principle. The main bag will deform
by the movement of a linear motor.

C.E.1.14 For the materials, I studied some books about surgery and I defined as:

- Plastic cover: Acrylic, due to the necessity of watching the blood color, flow, and pump
- Metallic cover: Surgical Aluminium, due to being the only metallic material allowed in
the operating room during the surgery and aluminium because of the necessity of
pinning it with screws (has to be more rigid).
- Bag: Silicone, to prevent contamination of the blood with toxins, cheap, and easily
- Valves: Bovine pericardium, due to being the most similar material compared to
human skin, and lower load loss than the mechanical valves.
- Fittings: Surgical Aluminium, due to being the only metallic material allowed in the
operating room during surgery.
Before the conclusion of the material, I had a meeting with doctors, specialized materials
suppliers for hospitals and read books about the subject.

C.E.1.15 The whole project was introduced during the 26th Science Fair at my university, there
were 14 groups including Mechanical Engineering and Automotive Engineering. I was the
one responsible in my group for presenting the project to the audience. Each group had 7
minutes to explain their project and at the end the judges decided which 3 groups were
the best ones. There were around 1000 people including family, technical experts,
doctors, researchers, etc.

C.E.1.16 In the beginning, we didnt have a real idea about what we could achieve with the
concept, but we knew that this kind of system was underdeveloped and we could find
some good opportunities to improve it. Furthermore, this project opened several
professional doors for us, including some job opportunities to work in this area, such a
different subject from what we normally thought about in mechanical engineering.

C.E.1.17 In my opinion, in working with different kinds of materials (metallic and plastic) and 3D
modelling, my professional background made a big difference in the project, as well as
my curiosity about the subject and the objective of doing a very good job.

C.E.1.18 In the 26th Science Fair, the Extracorporeal Blood Pump was awarded 2nd place, which
made us realize that even if we were not experts in some subjects, if we wanted to do it,
we could do it. Also the satisfaction of achieving our first goal, while still in university.