Many Tribology Group publications are Open Access thanks to funding from the EPSRC.


BibTex format

author = {Terzano, M and Dini, D and Rodriguez, y Baena F and Spagnoli, A and Oldfield, M},
doi = {10.1007/s10237-020-01310-x},
journal = {Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology},
pages = {1809--1825},
title = {An adaptive finite element model for steerable needles},
url = {},
volume = {19},
year = {2020}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Penetration of a flexible and steerable needle into a soft target material is a complex problem to be modelled, involving several mechanical challenges. In the present paper, an adaptive finite element algorithm is developed to simulate the penetration of a steerable needle in brain-like gelatine material, where the penetration path is not predetermined. The geometry of the needle tip induces asymmetric tractions along the tool–substrate frictional interfaces, generating a bending action on the needle in addition to combined normal and shear loading in the region where fracture takes place during penetration. The fracture process is described by a cohesive zone model, and the direction of crack propagation is determined by the distribution of strain energy density in the tissue surrounding the tip. Simulation results of deep needle penetration for a programmable bevel-tip needle design, where steering can be controlled by changing the offset between interlocked needle segments, are mainly discussed in terms of penetration force versus displacement along with a detailed description of the needle tip trajectories. It is shown that such results are strongly dependent on the relative stiffness of needle and tissue and on the tip offset. The simulated relationship between programmable bevel offset and needle curvature is found to be approximately linear, confirming empirical results derived experimentally in a previous work. The proposed model enables a detailed analysis of the tool–tissue interactions during needle penetration, providing a reliable means to optimise the design of surgical catheters and aid pre-operative planning.
AU - Terzano,M
AU - Dini,D
AU - Rodriguez,y Baena F
AU - Spagnoli,A
AU - Oldfield,M
DO - 10.1007/s10237-020-01310-x
EP - 1825
PY - 2020///
SN - 1617-7940
SP - 1809
TI - An adaptive finite element model for steerable needles
T2 - Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
UR -
UR -
VL - 19
ER -