Science & Technology

Egg Experiment Reveals Scrambling of the Brain on Impact to Find Answers About Concussions

Egg Yolk Rotational Deceleration Experiment

Put to the take a look at, impression from rotational deceleration causes large egg yolk deformation.

What causes mind concussions? Is it direct translational or rotational impression? That is one of the analysis areas at the moment being explored by Qianhong Wu’s lab at Villanova College.

Our brains consist of gentle matter bathed in watery cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inside a tough cranium. An impression on the laborious cranium is transmitted via the skinny layer of CSF inside the subarachnoid house to the gentle mind matter.

In Physics of Fluids, from AIP Publishing, Wu and co-authors Ji Lang and Rungun Nathan describe learning one other system with the similar options, an egg, to seek for solutions. An egg resembles the mind, as a result of its gentle yolk is bathed inside a liquid egg white inside a tough shell.

Contemplating that in most concussive mind accidents, the cranium doesn’t break, Wu wished to discover out if it was potential to break or deform the egg yolk with out breaking the eggshell.

A) Reactions of egg yolk beneath translational impression. The shell was hit with a hammer to obtain translational acceleration. B) Reactions of egg yolk beneath rotational acceleration impression. The container was set to rotate instantaneously. C) Reactions of egg yolk beneath rotational deceleration impression. The rotation pace of the container was decreased sharply to create a deceleration impression on the egg yolk. Credit score: Ji Lang and Qianhong Wu

The researchers did a easy experiment utilizing an egg scrambler, from which they might see that rotational pressure can simply break the egg yolk and make it combine with the egg white.

In phrases of fundamental ideas behind this work, a gentle capsule — membranebound gentle matter — is bathed inside a contained liquid. The capsule has an impermeable membrane, separating the liquid inside the capsule from the outdoors.

Two varieties of impacts might be imposed on the outer container. A translational impression is one which hits the container instantly, whereas a rotational impression happens when the outer container is accelerated or decelerated rotating. The latter arises naturally in sports activities when helmets should not spherical. Think about, for example, the pair of stiffening ridges behind many ice hockey helmet designs.

A rotational deceleration experiment with egg yolk, utilizing an egg scrambler and measuring the gentle matter deformation, to discover potential solutions about concussions. Credit score: Ji Lang and Qianhong Wu

The researchers found one thing fairly counterintuitive and really shocking. Direct translational impression doesn’t trigger the egg deformation, whereas rotational deceleration causes large egg yolk deformation. This discovering sheds gentle on the movement and deformation of our mind when the head is uncovered to sudden exterior impacts.

“We suspect that rotational, particularly decelerational rotational, impression is extra dangerous to mind matter,” mentioned Wu. “The massive deformation of mind matter throughout this course of induces the stretch of neurons and causes the injury.”

This discovering explains why boxers will very doubtless faint if hit on the chin.

“Contemplating the chin is the farthest level from the neck, hitting on the chin might trigger the highest rotational acceleration/deceleration of the head,” he mentioned.

When it comes to concussions, that are a critical subject for public well being, “it stays unclear how the mind is injured and the way to keep away from such accidents,” mentioned Wu.

“Essential pondering, together with easy experiments inside the kitchen, led to a sequence of systematic research to look at the mechanisms that trigger egg yolk deformation,” Wu mentioned. “We hope to apply the classes discovered from it to the research of mind biomechanics in addition to different bodily processes that contain gentle capsules in a liquid surroundings, comparable to pink blood cells.”

As the first research of its form, this work supplies a brand new perspective for understanding the response of a membranebound gentle object to sudden exterior impacts. This new perspective will curiosity these designing helmets.

Reference: “How to deform an egg yolk? On the research of gentle matter deformation in a liquid surroundings” by Ji Lang, Rungun Nathan and Qianhong Wu, 19 January 2021, Physics of Fluids.

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