About The Project

The senior design capstone is a two-semester course where a group of students work together on a project. Our team was composed of six undergraduate mechanical engineering students.

W. L. Gore & Associates was the sponsor for our project. Part of what W. L. Gore does is design and manufacture medical devices for endovascular procedures. Our project was based on one of their medical devices called the VIABAHN Endoprosthesis. The device is a flexible stent-graft used to treat Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) of the Superficial Femoral Artery (SFA). A stent-graft is used when a person has an unhealthy artery that is blocked up and constricted. The tube-shaped device is made from a thin polymer lining that is reinforced with a shape memory metal alloy. The stent-graft is placed inside of the artery to open the artery back up and re-establish blood flow. A catheter is used to deliver and deploy the stent-graft within the artery. The device starts out in a compressed state on the catheter and is guided through other arteries until it reaches the unhealthy SFA. Once the device is in position, it is released from the catheter and expands within the artery. The stent-graft stays in the person's artery while the catheter is removed from the person's body.

Since the VIABAHN device is a medical device, Gore needs ways to test the device before it can be used on people. Our project was to provide a benchtop testing model capable of testing the deployment of the VIABAHN device, which is the stage where the device is released from the catheter and expanded. The team designed, built, and tested single-use mock vessels intended for benchtop testing of the VIABAHN Endoprosthesis. Mock vessels are basically artificial arteries outside of the body that can be used to test stent-like devices. A simple description of a mock vessel would be that it is a transparent, flexible tube designed to be like an artery. When designing the mock vessels, the team attempted to mimic the anatomy of the SFA by characterizing the vessels by the mechanical properties and dimensions of an actual SFA. Everyone has different sized arteries so two different sizes of the mock vessels were made. Also, the mock vessels are only used once for each benchtop test, so multiple mock vessels were made for each size.