Granular Matter

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 543–554 | Cite as

Vacuum packed particles as flexible endoscope guides with controllable rigidity

  • Arjo J. LoeveEmail author
  • Oscar S. van de Ven
  • Johan G. Vogel
  • Paul Breedveld
  • Jenny Dankelman
Open Access


In order to fully benefit from the functionalities of flexible endoscopes in surgery a simple shaft-guide that can be used to support the flexible endoscope shaft is required. Such a shaft-guide must be flexible during insertion into the human body and rigidified when properly positioned to support the flexible endoscope shaft. A shaft-guide called ‘Vacu-SL’ was designed, consisting of a foil tube, filled with particles, that is rigidified by creating a vacuum in its tube. It is expected that the bending stiffness of a loaded, rigidified Vacu-SL shaft-guide is significantly influenced by the shape, hardness and size of the filler particles used. The goal of this study was to find the relations between the filler particles’ size, shape and hardness and a rigidified Vacu-SL shaft-guide’s bending stiffness. Vacu-SL test models were made using polystyrene, acrylic glass, glass, steel, and corundum particles as spheres, pebbles and granulate, with average diameters between 0.16–1.7 mm. These test models were rigidified and then loaded in a tensile tester. The forces needed for 5 and 10 mm deflections of the rigidified test models were measured. The results show that particle size, shape and hardness all influence a rigidified Vacu-SL shaft-guide’s bending stiffness. Size and hardness showed an optimum and granules performed better than spheres. Although the maximally measured bending stiffness might be insufficient to enable proper guidance of flexible endoscope shafts, the results suggest several ways to successfully improve the Vacu-SL shaft-guide.


Size Shape Hardness Vacuum Shaft-guide Endoscopy 



These tests were made possible due to Marc Los’ efforts in the pilot studies and the efforts of Sebastiaan Kiemel and Martijn Jansen during the tests. Marc, Sebastiaan and Martijn are Mechanical Engineering students of the Delft University of Technology.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


  1. 1.
    Baillie J.: The endoscope. Gastrointest. Endosc. 65, 886–893 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hawes R.H., Rattner D.W., Fleischer D. et al.: NOTES(TM): where have we been and where are we going?. Gastrointest. Endosc. 67, 779–780 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rattner D., Kalloo A.: ASGE/SAGES Working Group on Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery: October 2005. Surg. Endosc. 20, 329–333 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Shih S.P., Kantsevoy S.V., Kalloo A.N. et al.: Hybrid minimally invasive surgery - A bridge between laparoscopic and translumenal surgery. Surg. Endosc. 21, 1450–1453 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Swain P.: A justification for NOTES-natural orifice translumenal endosurgery. Gastrointest. Endosc. 65, 514–516 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Church J., Delaney C.: Randomized, Controlled Trial of Carbon Dioxide Insufflation During Colonoscopy. Dis. Colon Rectum 46, 322–326 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Church J.M.: Ancillary colonoscope insertion techniques—an evaluation. Surg. Endosc. 7, 191–193 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hull T., Church J.M.: Colonoscopy—how difficult, how painful?. Surg. Endosc. 8, 784–787 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lee S.H., Chung I.K., Kim S.J. et al.: An adequate level of training for technical competence in screening and diagnostic colonoscopy: a prospective multicenter evaluation of the learning curve. Gastrointest. Endosc. 67, 7 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Leung F.W.: Methods of reducing discomfort during colonoscopy. Dig. Dis. Sci. 53(6), 1–6 (2008)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Shah S.G., Saunders B.P., Brooker J.C. et al.: Magnetic imaging of colonoscopy: an audit of looping, accuracy and ancillary maneuvers. Gastrointest. Endosc. 52, 1–8 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Waye J.D., Rex D.K., Williams C.B.: Colonoscopy: Principles and Practice. Blackwell Pub, Oxford (2003)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Campanaro, L., Goldstone, N.J., Shepherd, C.C.: Rigidized evacuated structure. US Patent 3,258,883, July 5 (1966)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Loeb, J., Plantif, B.E.P.J.: Systeme de protection par modelage sous forme d’enceinte deformable et rigidifiable par depression, (FR). CA Patent (Brevet Canadien) 1035055, July 18 (1978)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rose, F.L.: Vacuum formed support structures and immobilizer devices. Bio-Medical Systems, Inc., Danbury, CT, US Patent 3,745,998, July 17 (1973)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Zinner, N.R., Sterling A.M.: Penile prosthesis and method. Torracne, CA, US Patent 5,069,201, December 3 (1991)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Reynolds O.: On the dilatancy of media composed of rigid particles in contact. Philos. Magazine 20, 469–481 (1885)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Revuzhenko A.F., Filippovich A.: Mechanics of granular media. Springer, Berlin (2006)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Olson J., Priester M., Luo J. et al.: Packing fractions and maximum angles of stability of granular materials. Phys. Rev. E 72, 031302 (2005)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Guises R., Xiang J., Latham J.P. et al.: Granular packing: numerical simulation and the characterisation of the effect of particle shape. Granul. Matter 11, 281–292 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Oda M., Konishi J., Nemat-Nasser S.: Experimental micromechanical evaluation of strength of granular materials: effects of particle rolling. Mech. Mater. 1, 269–283 (1982)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Podczeck F., Miah Y.: The influence of particle size and shape on the angle of internal friction and the flow factor of unlubricated and lubricated powders. Int. J. Pharm. 144, 187–194 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ludewig F., Vandewalle N., Dorbolo S.: Compaction of granular mixtures. Granul. Matter 8, 87–91 (2006)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kuhn M.R., Bagi K.: Contact rolling and deformation in granular media. Int. J. Solids. Struct. 41, 5793–5820 (2004)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Aguirre M.A., Nerone N., Calvo A. et al.: Influence of the number of layers on the equilibrium of a granular packing. Physical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics 62, 738–743 (2000)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Aguirre M.A., Nerone N., Ippolito I. et al.: Granular packing: influence of different parameters on its stability. Granul. Matter 3, 75–77 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Blair D.L., Mueggenburg N.W., Marshall A.H. et al.: Force distributions in three-dimensional granular assemblies: effects of packing order and interparticle friction. Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics 63, 413041–413048 (2001)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kadau D., Schwesig D., Theuerkauf J. et al.: Influence of particle elasticity in shear testers. Granul. Matter 8, 35–40 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Luding S.: Stress distribution in static two-dimensional granular model media in the absence of friction. Phys. Rev. E 55, 4720–4729 (1997)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Dintwa E., Tijskens E., Ramon H.: On the accuracy of the Hertz model to describe the normal contact of soft elastic spheres. Granul. Matter 10, 209–221 (2008)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    van Beek A.: Advanced engineering design: lifetime performance and reliability. Delft University of Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Delft, The Netherlands (2006)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Radjai F., Wolf D.E.: Features of static pressure in dense granular media. Granul. Matter 1, 3–8 (1998)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Soria-Hoyo C., Valverde J.M., Castellanos A.: Avalanches in moistened beds of glass beads. Powder Technol. 196, 257–262 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Bowden F.P., Tabor D.: The friction and lubrication of solids. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1950)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Porgess P.V.K., Wilman H.: The dependence of friction on surface roughness. Proc. Royal Soc. Lond. Series A Math. Phy. Sci. 252, 35–44 (1959)CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Bhushan B.: Modern Tribology Handbook. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton (2001)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Wehrmeyer J.A., Barthel J.A., Roth J.P. et al.: Colonoscope flexural rigidity measurement. Med. Biol. Eng. Comput 36, 475–479 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Gere J.M., Timoshenko S.P.: Mechanics of materials. Stanley Thornes (Publishers) Ltd, Cheltenham, UK (1999)Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Ghazavi M.: Shear strength characteristics of sand-mixed with granular rubber. Geotech. Geol. Eng. 22, 401–416 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kim H.K., Santamarina J.C.: Sand-rubber mixtures (large rubber chips). Can. Geotech. J. 45, 1457–1466 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Lee J.S., Dodds J., Santamarina J.C.: Behavior of rigid-soft particle mixtures. J. Mater. Civ. Eng. 19, 179–184 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arjo J. Loeve
    • 1
    Email author
  • Oscar S. van de Ven
    • 1
  • Johan G. Vogel
    • 1
  • Paul Breedveld
    • 1
  • Jenny Dankelman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department BioMechanical Engineering, Faculty 3mEDelft University of TechnologyDelftthe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations