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Hot soup! Correlating the severity of liquid scald burns to fluid and biomedical properties.

Authors
  • Loller, Cameron1
  • Buxton, Gavin A2
  • Kerzmann, Tony L3
  • 1 Science Department, Robert Morris University, 6001 University Boulevard, Moon Township, PA 15108, United States. Electronic address: [email protected] , (United States)
  • 2 Science Department, Robert Morris University, 6001 University Boulevard, Moon Township, PA 15108, United States. Electronic address: [email protected] , (United States)
  • 3 Engineering Department, Robert Morris University, 6001 University Boulevard, Moon Township, PA 15108, United States. Electronic address: [email protected] , (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Burns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries
Publication Date
May 01, 2016
Volume
42
Issue
3
Pages
589–597
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.burns.2015.10.016
PMID: 26796241
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Burns caused by hot drinks and soups can be both debilitating and costly, especially to pediatric and geriatric patients. This research is aimed at better understanding the fluid properties that can influence the severity of skin burns. We use a standard model which combines heat transfer and biomedical equations to predict burn severity. In particular, experimental data from a physical model serves as the input to our numerical model to determine the severity of scald burns as a consequence of actual fluid flows. This technique enables us to numerically predict the heat transfer from the hot soup into the skin, without the need to numerically estimate the complex fluid mechanics and thermodynamics of the potentially highly viscous and heterogeneous soup. While the temperature of the soup is obviously is the most important fact in determining the degree of burn, we also find that more viscous fluids result in more severe burns, as the slower flowing thicker fluids remain in contact with the skin for longer. Furthermore, other factors can also increase the severity of burn such as a higher initial fluid temperature, a greater fluid thermal conductivity, or a higher thermal capacity of the fluid. Our combined experimental and numerical investigation finds that for average skin properties a very viscous fluid at 100°C, the fluid must be in contact with the skin for around 15-20s to cause second degree burns, and more than 80s to cause a third degree burn.

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