The Thermofluids Research Group, working under the umbrella of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Notre Dame University – Louaize (NDU), is investigating cutting-edge research topic on the evaluation and analysis of hygrothermal performance in preterm incubators, in other words how effectively heat and moisture permeates incubators for infants born prematurely. Enhancing the comfort of neonates – newborns – nursed in incubators is crucial for their survival and growth. Several methods will be used in order to better understand the physical phenomena of dry and latent heat loss from neonates and the body-environment interaction occurring, both in isolation, and during clinical processes. These methods can be classified into three main categories: bioheat modeling, computational fluid dynamics, and experimental studies.
This project is in the framework of an Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie and National Council for Scientific Research (AUF-CNRSL) grant between NDU, Ottawa University (Canada), Angers University (France) and Lebanese University, with Dr. Charbel Habchi, Assistant Professor at the NDU Department of Mechanical Engineering – Faculty of Engineering, as principle investigator.
To assist with this goal, Dräger and Prime Medical donated a high tech Caleo Incubator to be used for the experimental testing. A training session was held at the Mechanical Engineering Department showing the advanced features of Caleo incubator. A thermal manikin will be built using 3D printing to mimic thermoregulation of a preterm neonate. Preliminary results showed a potential of substantial reduction in heat losses.
The Department of Mechanical Engineering would like to thank the generous contribution from Dräger and Prime Medical, which will help students and researchers from NDU in achieving their educational and research goals.