Technical Brief

Measurement and Modeling of Tissue Thermal Conductivity With Variable Water Content and Compression

[+] Author and Article Information
Matthew W. Chastagner

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2125

Robert E. Dodde

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2125

Albert J. Shih

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2125;
Department of Biomedical Engineering,
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2125

Wei Li

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Texas at Austin,
Austin, TX 78712-1591

Roland K. Chen

School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering,
Washington State University,
PO Box 642920,
Pullman, WA 99164-2920
e-mail: roland.chen@wsu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received September 19, 2014; final manuscript received March 15, 2016; published online April 19, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Zhixiong Guo.

J. Heat Transfer 138(7), 074503 (Apr 19, 2016) (5 pages) Paper No: HT-14-1631; doi: 10.1115/1.4033078 History: Received September 19, 2014; Revised March 15, 2016

The effects of water content and compression level on tissue thermal conductivity were studied. These effects are important in electrosurgery, as tissue is subjected to both compression and thermal heating. Ex vivo canine spleen tissue was used in this study. A thermal diffusion probe technique was employed to measure the tissue thermal conductivity in three different conditions. First, the tissue thermal conductivity with different water content levels was measured. The measured thermal conductivity decreased as the percentage of water within the tissue decreased. Second, the tissue thermal conductivity under compression, up to 77%, was measured and it showed a 9% reduction as the load was applied. Third, desiccated tissue was compressed, and the thermal conductivity was measured. The compression effect on thermal conductivity was less prominent in the desiccated tissue because less water was squeezed out due to compression. A three-phase Maxwell–Eucken model was developed to predict the tissue thermal conductivity for varying water content and compression levels. The model used the ratio of air, tissue fiber, and water to predict the thermal conductivity and showed a good agreement with the experimental data.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Matthews, B. D. , Pratt, B. L. , Backus, C. L. , Kercher, K. W. , Mostafa, G. , Lentzner, A. , Lipford, E. H. , Sing, R. F. , and Heniford, B. T. , 2001, “ Effectiveness of the Ultrasonic Coagulating Shears, LigaSure Vessel Sealer, and Surgical Clip Application in Biliary Surgery: A Comparative Analysis,” Am. Surg., 67, pp. 901–906. [PubMed]
Harold, K. L. , Pollinger, H. , Matthews, B. D. , Kercher, K. W. , Sing, R. F. , and Heniford, T. , 2003, “ Comparison of Ultrasonic Energy, Bipolar Thermal Energy, and Vascular Clips for the Hemostasis of Small-, Medium-, and Large-Sized Arteries,” Surg. Endoscopy, 17, pp. 1228–1230. [CrossRef]
Ong, A. M. , Su, L.-M. , Varkarakis, I. , Inagaki, T. , Link, R. E. , Bhayani, S. B. , Patriciu, A. , Crain, B. , and Walsh, P. C. , 2004, “ Nerve Sparing Radical Prostatectomy: Effects of Hemostatic Energy Sources on the Recovery of Cavernous Nerve Function in a Canine Model,” J. Urol., 172(4), pp. 1318–1322. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Thomsen, S. , Pearce, J. A. , and Cheong, W.-F. , 1989, “ Changes in Birefringence as Markers of Thermal Damage in Tissues,” IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng., 36(12), pp. 1174–1179. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Yang, D. , Converse, M. C. , Mahvi, D. M. , and Webster, J. G. , 2007, “ Expanding the Bioheat Equation to Include Tissue Internal Water Evaporation During Heating,” IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng., 54(8), pp. 1382–1388. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Dodde, R. E. , Bull, J. L. , and Shih, A. J. , 2012, “ Bioimpedance of Soft Tissue Under Compression,” Physiol. Meas., 33(6), pp. 1095–1109. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Cooper, T. E. , and Trezek, G. J. , 1971, “ Correlation of Thermal Properties of Some Human Tissue With Water Content,” Aerosp. Med., 42, pp. 24–27. [PubMed]
Olsrud, J. , Friberg, B. , Ahlgren, M. , and Persson, B. R. R. , 1998, “ Thermal Conductivity of Uterine Tissue In Vitro,” Phys. Med. Biol., 43(8), pp. 2397–2406. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Anderson, G. T. , Valvano, J. W. , and Santos, R. R. , 1992, “ Self-Heated Thermistor Measurements of Perfusion,” IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng., 39(9), pp. 877–885. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Chato, J. C. , 1968, “ A Method for the Measurement of the Thermal Properties of Biological Materials,” Thermal Problems in Biotechnology, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York, pp. 16–25.
Balasubramaniam, T. A. , and Bowman, H. F. , 1977, “ Thermal Conductivity and Thermal Diffusivity of Biomaterials: A Simultaneous Measurement Technique,” ASME J. Biomech. Eng., 99(3), pp. 148–154. [CrossRef]
Valvano, J. W. , Cochran, J. R. , and Diller, K. R. , 1985, “ Thermal Conductivity and Diffusivity of Biomaterials Measured With Self-Heated Thermistors,” Int. J. Thermophys., 6(3), pp. 301–311. [CrossRef]
Kravets, R. R. , 1988, “ Determination of Thermal Conductivity of Food Materials Using a Bead Thermistor,” Ph.D. thesis, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA.
Eucken, A. , 1940, “ Allgemeine Gesetzmassig Keiten für das Wärmeleitvermögen Verschiedener Stoffarten und Aggregatzustände,” Forsch. Gebeite Ing., 11(1), pp. 6–20. [CrossRef]
Perez, M. G. R. , and Calvelo, A. , 1984, “ Modeling the Thermal Conductivity of Cooked Meat,” J. Food Sci., 49(1), pp. 152–156. [CrossRef]
Gonzalez-Correa, C. A. , Brown, B. H. , Smallwood, R. H. , Walker, D. C. , and Bardhan, K. D. , 2005, “ Electrical Bioimpedance Readings Increase With Higher Pressure Applied to the Measuring Probe,” Physiol. Meas., 26(2), pp. S39–S47. [CrossRef] [PubMed]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

The electrical circuit used to apply power to the thermistor during the self-heating experiments

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

The device used to determine the thermal conductivity of the tissue under compression: (a) schematic showing the key components of the device and (b) the device in use during tissue compression

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Tissue thermal conductivity of spleen tissue as the water content level of the tissue is reduced

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Spleen thermal conductivity as a function of compression level for 71% tissue water content level. Maxwell–Eucken model is shown by the solid black line.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Spleen thermal conductivity as a function of compression level for (a) 64% and (b) 54% tissue water content level. The Maxwell–Eucken model is shown by the solid black line.



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In