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Biomedical Engineering Design Projects

Cerebrospinal Fluid Flow Model

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Project Overview

Team photo

A model of Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) flow in the human craniovertertebral junction

The goal of this project is to create a life-size physical model of the human hindbrain and upper cervical spinal canal. This will be used to study how varying dimensions affect CSF flow in terms of pressure. Oscillatory flow is required in the model, and pressure must be quantifiable.

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Project Status

The prototype:

The prototype Parts

Shown above is our final design. The model is made out of a clear polycarbonate sheet cut into blocks. A hole is drilled at the center of each block so that a funnel shape is formed inside when the blocks are held together. The three tubes attached to the top of the blocks are used to roughly measure pressure. In the future, a transducer may be inserted in place of these tubes for a more accurate measurement. The blocks are held together by two steel rods. The model is attached at both ends to tubes connected to the pump.

schematic diagram

Our schematic diagram is shown above. You can see the outline of the funnel shape inside the model here.

The pump:

pump piston

Shown above is a picture of the pump we will use, and a close-up of the piston which pushes the green liquid through the tubes and into the module. This pump can generate oscillatory flow.


This is a module attached to the pump. Our module will be connected in the same way.

Progress Report Archive.

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Project Timeline

Week Reporting Period Beginning Activities
1 January 23 Selected project. Formed teams and assigned team roles. Met with client.
2 January 30 Did some research to gain further understanding of project.
3 February 6 Developed PDS.
4 February 13 Brainstormed potential designs. Met with client to gain further insight into the design and to show him some of our ideas.
5 February 20 Evaluated three possible designs. Began writing mid-semester report.
6 February 27 Assembled and rehearsed powerpoint presentation.
7 March 5 ORAL PRESENTATIONS. PowerPoint slides on website by 10:00 am; keep website up to date.
8 March 12 The mid-semester paper, PDS, and design notebooks were handed in.
9 March 19 Spring break.
10 March 26 Met client to ask questions and see the pump.
11 April 2 Looked for materials at hardware stores, catalogs, and online. Adjusted design.
12 April 9 Meet with client. Cut polycarbonate. Begin assembling model.
13 April 16 Assemble the model.
14 April 23 Prepare for final presentation.
15 April 30 FINAL POSTER PRESENTATIONS. Hand in written report and notebook. Final meeting with advisor.

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Presentations and Reports

ppt icon Mid-semester Powerpoint Presentation (Mar 4 2004, 373 kb)
doc icon PDS Report (Mar 7 2004, 35 kb)
doc icon Preliminary Design Report (Mar 13 2004, 300 kb)
ppt icon Final Poster Presentation (Apr 30 2004, 4261 kb)
doc icon Final Report (May 4 2004, 3687 kb)

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Contact Information

Project Team

Project Advisor and Client

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Owner: Willis Tompkins, Ph.D.
Author: Mary Lim
Created: Feb 6 2004
Content updated: May 4 2004

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