Communications Project

Document Type:Master's Thesis
Name:Paul S. Robinson
Title:Development of Methodologies for the Noninvasive Estimation of Blood Perfusion
Degree:Master of Science
Department:Mechanical Engineering
Committee Chair: Dr. Tom Diller and Dr. Elaine Scott
Chair's and
Committee Members:Dr. Tom Diller
Dr. Elaine Scott
Dr. Hugo Veit
Keywords:blood perfusion, biothermal modeling, biothermal heat transfer, parameter estimation, heat flux sensors
Date of defense:January 29, 1998
Availability:Release the entire work for Virginia Tech access only.
After one year release worldwide only with written permission of the student and the advisory committee chair.


This work focuses on the development of a system to noninvasively estimate blood perfusion using thermal methods. This is accomplished by the combination of a bioprobe, biothermal model, and parameter estimation techniques. The probe consists of a heat flux sensor and surface thermocouple placed in contact with tissue while the opposite side is cooled by jets of room temperature air. The biothermal model predicts the temperature and heat flux within tissue and probe based upon the input of blood perfusion and the thermal contact resistance between probe and tissue. Parameter estimation techniques are developed that use the model to simultaneously estimate blood perfusion and contact resistance based on experimental heat flux and/or temperature. A gradient based system minimizes a sum of squares error function based on either or both heat flux and temperature. This system is tested on human forearms and in controlled flow rate experiments using tissue phantoms. Blood perfusion estimates from the controlled experiments are positively correlated with experimental flow rate. Experimental measurements and statistical analysis show distinct variations in the heat flux signal and rises in perfusion estimates with increasing flow rate. This research validates the use of thermal and parameter estimation methods to develop a practical, noninvasive probe to clinically measure blood perfusion.

List of Attached Files


At the author's request, all materials (PDF files, images, etc.) associated with this ETD are accessible from the Virginia Tech network only.

The author grants to Virginia Tech or its agents the right to archive and display their thesis or dissertation in whole or in part in the University Libraries in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all proprietary rights, such as patent rights. The author also retains the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis or dissertation.