Crosby lead PI on $2.6M ONR grant to study cavitation damage in soft tissue injuries

A research team led by Alfred Crosby, Polymer Science and Engineering, is the recipient of a four-year, $2.6 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to focus on one of the least-studied factors in traumatic brain damage and other soft-tissue injuries, cavitation, the sudden expansion of bubbles in a material.

As Crosby explains, the creation and collapse of bubbles in liquids is well known and has been studied extensively for the past century. When cavitation bubbles collapse, they force liquid into a smaller area, causing a pressure wave and increased temperature. In a pump, for example, cavitation can cause wear and erode metal parts over time. Cavitation inside artificial heart valves can damage not only the parts but the blood. Microcavitation in the brain as a result of high-impact blows or being near an explosion is suspected as a factor in brain injury.

Cavitation can also occur in solids and gels, but few scientists have studied this, he notes. Crosby and fellow polymer scientist Greg Tew, chemical engineer Shelly Peyton, mechanical engineer Jae-Hwang Lee at UMass Amherst, and chemical engineer Rob Riggleman at UPenn and mechanical engineer Shengqiang Cai at UCSD have formed “CAVITATE,” a team at the UMass Amherst’s Center for Evolutionary Materials, to study the phenomenon.

More information: News Office Release