Materials engineering refers to the application of the properties of matter to various branches of engineering and science. Materials engineering examines the structure of matter at atomic and molecular levels to explore how the materials can be strengthened, improved, or otherwise changed for benefit. In recent decades, materials engineering has also become a crucial component of forensic investigations regarding the failure of certain kinds of equipment. The technology developed in materials engineering has allowed investigators to observe stress fractures and other microscopic defects caused by irregularities during the manufacturing process. This technology is particularly useful in the healthcare industry, where medical equipment often means the difference between life and death and continuous operational quality is essential.
As technology improves, materials engineering goes hand-in-hand with nanotechnology, an emerging scientific field that manipulates the properties of matter at extremely small scales (many times thinner than human hair). Within the healthcare industry, some of nanotechnology’s primary potential applications include internal reconstruction (“smart” repair bots assisting with the body’s natural healing processes), as well as several new cancer treatments that have the potential to substantially improve the survival rates for many different cancers. Conventional cancer treatment involves harsh drugs (chemotherapy) and bombarding the body’s tissues with radiation, which damages the body’s normal tissues along with cancerous tumors. Medical researchers are at work integrating nanotechnology into drug delivery so that cancer treatment drugs will be more efficient at differentiating tumor cells from normal tissue. This minimizes the harmful side effects of conventional cancer treatment, which include cellular damage, a weakened immune system (and corresponding elevated risk of secondary infection), muscle weakness, and severe nausea. Researchers hope to further refine nanotechnology’s impact on cancer treatment in addition to locating new ways in which it can further increase human regenerative capacity.
Materials engineering is also at the heart of medical equipment testing. Durable medical equipment (DME) is medical equipment that is used in the home to improve quality of life. This includes things like oxygen tents, catheters, wheelchairs, and hospital beds. Understandably, these devices form the cornerstone of many handicapped individuals’ lives and equipment failure can be devastating, especially if residents depend on powered aspects of the equipment or live in an area with severe weather. Repeated-use durable medical equipment is normally subject to a variety of stress tests that focus on finding the upper stress limit of certain motions as well as repetitive stress tests that subject the DME to conditions it would likely encounter over several years in its home environment.
We hope everyone whoever is reading this article will understand the importance of the changes that are happening in the medical field.
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