Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2024

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Mathematical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel Engebretson

Second Advisor

Dr. Jacob Kerby

Third Advisor

Dr. Dan Van Peursem


Electro-osmosis, electricity, wound healing, tissue engineering

Subject Categories

Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Mechanical Engineering


Without extensive vascularization, the transfer of fluid and nutrients through human tissue is limited to diffusion and weak interstitial flow. Electroosmosis, or the flow of fluid driven by an electrical field, has become a promising solution. Scientists have begun applying electricity to human tissue to promote stronger interstitial flow; however, optimization of this process has proven to be a challenge due to ohmic heating. Cells function within a small range of temperatures and exposure to voltages exceeding the threshold will cause cells to degrade and die prematurely. This research seeks to better understand and quantify the range of voltage where the heat generated leads to cell degradation and death. Utilizing a computational fluid dynamics software, Sim Center Star-CCM+, a representative model of tissue mimicking a clinical application of electricity to the knee was created and used to test a variety of voltages while monitoring the temperature and time; this data was then compared to prior-established values depicting when cells undergo irreversible damage. Research has already shown that electrical stimulation can drastically increase the rate at which a wound heals; understanding the thresholds for when damage occurs will allow clinicians and scientists to optimize this process while avoiding cell damage.



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