University of Twente Student Theses


Development of a membrane based Voice Producing Prosthesis

Stehouwer, P. (2007) Development of a membrane based Voice Producing Prosthesis.

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Abstract:In severe cases of laryngeal cancer it is sometimes necessary to remove the larynx (the voice box) completely, this is called laryngectomy. During this operation the windpipe (the trachea) is separated from the voice box and bypassed to an opening at the bottom of the neck through which the patient can breathe. To be able to speak an air valve is placed between the windpipe and the gullet (the esophagus). In this study the commonly used Groningen Button is used. The valve allows air to flow to the mouth again but prevents food and drinks from reaching the lungs. The patient’s voice after this kind of procedure often is of very low quality. At the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) a new kind of prosthesis has been developed. Goal of these prostheses is to give laryngectomy patients a natural sounding voice again. The goal of assignment is to revise and improve both the sound properties and the production technique. (chapter 1) There are several features which influence the frequency of the prosthesis. Some of which can be changed. The formula is used to describe the influence of various features in the case of weights attached to the membranes and derived to a formula for a homogeneous membrane. Subsequently, the changeable properties, like elasticity, thickness and mass, are listed and elaborated. (chapter 2) These variables, which could be used to lower the frequency, lead to some choices in material, configurations and production methods.(chapter 3) A selection of combinations in the variables of the membranes was made and tested to determine the influences of, for instance, the porosity on the elasticity and the effect of the different properties on the frequency. Due to a lack of available time in the lab in Enschede and failed membrane samples only part of the selection is made, these samples were later tested. (chapter 4) The test results made it clear both techniques can be used to create very porous membranes with a relative high quantity of Tungsten powder. The elasticity of the membranes, at least the ones made by spreading, looks promising. (chapter 5) Another thing that is shown in this study is the importance of the a well chosen base material. (chapter 6) The possibilities for series production of the membranes are studied. But without an adequate membrane configuration a decision can not be made (chapter 7) To make the design of the prosthesis suitable for series production a variety of concepts is developed. The possibilities to assemble the membrane got most attention because of the difficulties encountered during the assembling of the prototypes. A concept is chosen. (chapter 8)
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
University Medical Center Groningen
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:21 art forms
Programme:Industrial Design BSc (56955)
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