Colloquium: Understanding burn injuries and first aid treatment using simple mathematical models

Friday 13 October

Ingkarni Wardli B17

Professor Mat Simpson, Queensland University of Technology

Scald burns from accidental exposure to hot liquids are the most common cause of burn injury in children. Over 2000 children are treated for accidental burn injuries in Australia each year. Despite the frequency of these injuries, basic questions about the physics of heat transfer in living tissues remain unanswered. For example, skin thickness varies with age and anatomical location, yet our understanding of how tissue damage from thermal injury is influenced by skin thickness is surprisingly limited. In this presentation we will consider a series of porcine experiments to study heat transfer in living tissues. We consider burning the living tissue, as well as applying various first aid treatment strategies to cool the living tissue after injury. By calibrating solutions of simple mathematical models to match the experimental data we provide insight into how thermal energy propagates through living tissues, as well as exploring different first aid strategies. We conclude by outlining some of our current work that aims to produce more realistic mathematical models.

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