Improving the Understanding of the interaction between human skin and textiles that result in skin discomfort, wear and damage.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering


Aims: Bio-Tribology study of skin deterioration and damage. Textile on skin interactions with changing moisture conditions and the use of different skin products as friction modifiers.

- Study of different textile impact on skin.
- Study of different products and friction modifiers on skin.
- Study and use of continence products impact.
- Impact on old skin v's young skin

Planned Impact

The impact of the Centre will be manifest itself in four ways; by the number and quality of skilled PhD graduates it produces, by the reach and significance of the research that is generated during their studies, by the contribution to the research base in tribology, and through the broader societal impact of improved machine efficiency and energy utilisation.

The number and quality of PhD graduates. iT-CDT plans, in the steady state, to graduate 12 PhD students per year. We expect these students to enter industry as research leaders or academia as RAs then lecturers. UK and EU industries are desperately short of PhD graduates, and they are in demand. We expect to have impact on UK industry with a stream of PhD graduates who will enter for example, the automotive sector (e.g. designing more fuel efficient engines), the rail sector (e.g. increasing network capacity and reducing cost through improved track and vehicle components), the oil industry (e.g. developing new lubricants for increased fuel efficiency), aerospace sector (e.g. tribology needs in jet engines), the power industries (e.g.developing and maintaining more efficient transmissions). PhD students may also commercialise technology or consultancy in the form of a spin-out activity. We have a track record of past PhD students achieving all these things. The iT-CDT plans to extend and broaden that record, will facilitate synergy across the discipline.

The transformative PhD research. During their studies, PhD students will be conducting research on an industry led project. These projects will also have elements of generic application therefore have wide impact. The students will be closely involved with both the sponsoring organisation and other industrial partners. This means that there will be a direct route for technology transfer.

Contribution to the Research Base in Tribology. The iT-CDT is a grouping of the two leading universities in tribology in the UK. It will form the largest critical mass of academics, RAs, and PhD students in the EU. A team of industrial partners will steer the research so that it is relevant and has real routes to impact. This platform will lead to a growth in the research base in tribology for the UK and will impact both industry, with improved products and processes, and academia with the supply of new technology and analytical methods.

Societal Impact. The development of new tribological processes, and engineers skilled in their conception and implementation, will have broader societal impact with machines and process that run with lower friction, higher energy efficiency and have greater durability. In the shorter term, we also plan as part of the iT-CDT for public engagement events using PhD students as the agents of delivery.


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Description Invited to attend the Sheffield City Council Scrutiny Committee meeting to present my research findings. The purpose of the meeting was to address whether the local continence services were meeting the needs of patients.
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a guidance/advisory committee
Description Bladder and Bowel UK Incontinence Seminar Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The seminar day focused on experts in the field of continence meeting with healthcare professionals e.g. dermatologists, nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Bringing together a wide range of health professionals in workshops and lectures gave a good opportunity to discuss the latest research in the field and also discuss ongoing challenges to direct future research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
Description IMechE Conference: Incontinence: The engineering challenge 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Patients, carers and/or patient groups
Results and Impact This conference brought together clinicians, patients, researchers, engineers and industry. It provided an open platform to discuss current device issues which also hearing about the new research happening in the area. From this conference I managed to make quite a number of contacts who I have sent follow up emails to. Already I have received papers and invitations to visit labs etc. I hope there is potential to get involved in some medical device work with some of the researchers that I met at the conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description Innovation in Medical Devices for Children Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This event was organised by Southampton University and it brought together clinicians and academics in a day of networking and learning. I met people from Devices for Dignity (D4D) and the vulnerable skin network who will potentially be useful contacts for the future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description Lyon Conference, Symposium of Tribology 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact For the Lyon conference I prepared a poster containing key results so far of my skin research and the work was displayed at the conference in the poster. I discussed my tribology research with other academics and learned further about their projects and techniques for conducting their research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017