, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 87–98 | Cite as

Influence of surgical suture properties on the tribological interactions with artificial skin by a capstan experiment approach

  • Gangqiang Zhang
  • Tianhui Ren
  • Xiangqiong Zeng
  • Emile Van Der Heide
Open Access
Research Article


Tribological interactions between surgical suture and human tissue play an important role in the stitching process. The purpose of the paper is to understanding the tribological behavior of surgical suture interacting with artificial skin, with respect to surgical suture material and structure, by means of a capstan experiment approach and a contact area model. The results indicated that structure and surface topography of the surgical suture had a pronounced effect on the tribological interactions. The apparent coefficient of friction of vicryl surgical suture was the smallest among the three surgical suture materials. As the sliding velocity increased, or the applied load decreased, the coefficient of friction increased. Furthermore, stick-slip phenomena were observed during the sliding procedure.


friction sliding surgical suture artificial skin capstan experiment 



The authors are grateful to Marie Curie CIG (No. PCIG10-GA-2011-303922), the Shanghai Municipal “Science and Technology Innovation Action Plan” International Cooperation Project (No. 15540723600) for the financial support.


  1. [1]
    Thacker J G, Rodeheaver G, Moore J W, Kauzlarlch J J, Kurtz L, Edgerton M T, Edlich R F. Mechanical performance of surgical sutures. Am J Surg 130: 374–380 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    Dart A J, Dart C M. Suture material: Conventional and stimuli responsive. Comprehensive Biomaterials 6: 573–587 (2011)Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Apt L, Henrick A. “Tissue-drag” with polyglycolic acid (Dexon) and polyglactin 910 (Vicryl) sutures in strabismus surgery. J Pediatr Ophthalmol 13: 360–364 (1976)Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    Walling H W, Christensen D R, Arpey C J, Whitaker D C. Surgical pearl: Lubrication of polyglactin suture with antibiotic ointment. J Am Acad Dermatol 52(1): 136–137 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Chen X, Hou D, Tang X, Wang L. Quantitative physical and handling characteristics of novel antibacterial braided silk suture materials. J Mech Behav Biomed Mater 50: 160–170 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    El Mogahzy Y E. Development of textile fiber products for medical and protection applications. Engineering Textiles 2009: 475–525 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    Van Der Heide E, Lossie C M, Van Bommel K J C, Reinders S A F, Lenting H B M. Experimental investigation of a polymer coating in sliding contact with skin-equivalent silicone rubber in an aqueous environment. Tribol Trans 53: 842–847 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    Van Der Heide E, Zeng X, Masen M A. Skin tribology: Science friction–Friction 1: 130–142 (2013)Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    Morales-Hurtado M, Zeng X, Gonzalez-Rodriguez P, Ten Elshof J E, van der Heide E. A new water absorbable mechanical Epidermal skin equivalent: The combination of hydrophobic PDMS and hydrophilic PVA hydrogel. J Mech Behav Biomed Mater 46: 305–317 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    van Kuilenburg J, Masen M A, van der Heide E.. Contact modelling of human skin: What value to use for the modulus of elasticity–Proc IMechE, Part J: J Eng Tribol 227: 349–361 (2012)Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    Robins M M, Rennell R W, Arnell R D. The friction of polyester textile fibres. J Phys D: Appl Phys 17: 1349–1360 (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    Tu C-F, For T. A study of fiber-capstan friction. 2. Stick–slip phenomena. Tribol Int 37: 711–719 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    Gao X, Wang L, Hao X. An improved Capstan equation including power-law friction and bending rigidity for high performance yarn. Mechanism and Machine Theory 90: 84–94 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    Tu C-F, For T. A study of fiber-capstan friction. 1. Stribeck curves. Tribol Int 37: 701–710 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    Cornelissen B, de Rooij M B, Rietman B, Akkerman R. Frictional behaviour of high performance fibrous tows: A contact mechanics model of tow–Metal friction. Wear 305: 78–88 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    Cornelissen B, Rietman B, Akkerman R. Frictional behaviour of high performance fibrous tows: Friction experiments. Compos Part A: Appl Sci Manuf 44: 95–104 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    Amaral M, Abreu C, Oliveira F, Gomes J, Silva R. Tribological characterization of NCD in physiological fluids. Diamond and Related Materials 17: 848–852 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    Johnson K L, Greenwood J A. An adhesion map for the contact of elastic spheres. J Colloid Interface Sci 192: 326–333 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    Roselman I C, Tabor D. The friction and wear of individual carbon fibres. J Phys D: Appl Phys 10: 1181–1194 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    Johnson K L. Contact Mechanics. Cambridge University Press, 1987.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    Viju S, Thilagavathi G. Effect of chitosan coating on the characteristics of silk-braided sutures. Journal of Industrial Textiles 42: 256–268 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. [22]
    Hendrikson W J, Zeng X, Rouwkema J, van Blitterswijk C A, van der Heide E, Moroni L. Biological and Tribological assessment of poly (ethylene oxide terephthalate)/poly (butylene terephthalate), polycaprolactone, and poly (L╗) lactic acid plotted scaffolds for skeletal tissue regeneration. Adv Healthc Mater 5(2): 232–243 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. [23]
    Yuksekkaya M E. More about fibre friction and its measurements. Textile Progress 41: 141–193 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. [24]
    Ferry J D. Viscoelastic properties of polymers polymer solutions. J Res Natl Bur Stand 41(1): 53–62 (1948)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. [25]
    Boiko A V, Kulik V M, Seoudi B M, Chun H H, Lee I. Measurement method of complex viscoelastic material properties. International Journal of Solids and Structures 47: 374–382 (2010)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  26. [26]
    Roth F L, Driscoll R L, Holt W L. Friction properties of rubber. Joumal of Research of the National Bureau of Standards 28: 440–461 (1942)Google Scholar
  27. [27]
    Grosch K A. The relation between the frciton and viscoelastic properties of rubber. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 274(1356): 21–39 (1963)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. [28]
    Howell H G, Mieszkis K W, Tabor D. Friction in Textiles. London (UK): Butterworths Scientific Publications, 1959.Google Scholar
  29. [29]
    Gupta B. Textile fiber morphology, structure and properties in relation to friction. Friction in Textile Materials 2008: 3–36 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. [30]
    Amaral M, Abreu C S, Oliveira F J, Gomes J R, Silva R F. Biotribological performance of NCD coated Si3N4-bioglass composites. Diamond and Related Materials 16: 790–795 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. [31]
    Briscoe B. The role of adhesion in the friction, wear and lubrication of polymers. Adhesion 5: 49–80 (1981)Google Scholar
  32. [32]
    Hansen W W, Tabor D. Role of hydrodynamic lubrication in the friction of fibers and yarns. J Appl Phys 27(12): 1558–1559 (1956)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. [33]
    Griesser H J, Chatelier R C, Martin C, Vasic Z R, Gengenbach T R, Jessup G. Elimination of stick-slip of elastomeric sutures by radiofrequency glow discharge deposited coatings. J Biomed Mater Res 53(3): 235–243 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. [34]
    Roberts A, Thomas A. The adhesion and friction of smooth rubber surfaces. Wear 33: 45–64 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Open Access: The articles published in this journal are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gangqiang Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tianhui Ren
    • 3
  • Xiangqiong Zeng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Emile Van Der Heide
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Advanced Lubricating Materials Laboratory, Shanghai Advanced Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Laboratory for Surface Technology and TribologyUniversity of TwenteEnschedethe Netherlands
  3. 3.School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Key Laboratory for Thin Film and Microfabrication of the Ministry of EducationShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  4. 4.TU DelftFaculty of Civil Engineering and GeosciencesDelftthe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations