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The University of Southampton
Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin Network

University of Sheffield Project

Towards a synthetic test-bed to predict damage done during vulnerable skin-textile interactions in aggressive environments as used in incontinence solutions

Incontinence is a major issue for an ageing population and frictional loading at the skin-pad interface is linked to vulnerable skin damage. Current methods of assessing incontinence products are not capable of accurately reproducing the interactions and damage mechanisms in the aggressive loading environment that includes repeated rubbing and the presence of urine.

This research will deliver the early stages of development of a novel test-bed capable of simulating and sensing skin damage due to aggressive loading. It will use imaging techniques to consider the differences between skin sites that are applicable in the real-world use of incontinence pads and those used in current human skin testing.


Wearing absorbent pads for long periods is a major cause of incontinence associated trauma

Human skin tests will be carried out to provide load response and friction data to be used for the selection of the best candidate materials for prototype test-beds. Improved functionality for future designs will also be considered (e.g. load/damage sensing, control of friction through surface texture and replication of response to moist conditions).

The outcomes will form part of a larger study developing fully functional test-beds for product assessment with the ultimate aim of improving medical products to reduce skin damage amongst those with incontinence.

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