Flexible impulse transfer using a Newton's Cradle-inspired catheter: A feasibility study

Aimée Sakes*, Leander Grandia, Remie Lether, Lukas Steenstra, Maurice C. Valentijn, Paul Breedveld, Jo W. Spronck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
61 Downloads (Pure)


A major challenge during minimally invasive surgery is transfer of high forces through small, flexible instruments, such as needles and catheters, because of their low buckling resistance. In this study, we determined the feasibility of using a Newton's Cradle-inspired catheter (patented) to transfer high-force impulses. Exerting a high-force impulse on the tissue increases the critical buckling load and can prevent buckling. The system comprised an input plunger onto which the impulse is given, a (flexible) shaft filled with Ø2 mm stainless steel balls, and an output plunger to transfer the impulse to the target tissue. In the proof-of-principle experiment, the effect on efficiency of clearance (0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 mm), length (100, 200, and 300 mm), shaft type (rigid vs. flexible), curve angle (0, 45, 90, 135, and 180°), and curve radius (20, 40, 60, and 100 mm) was determined. The catheter delivered forces of 6 N without buckling. The average impulse efficiency of the system was 35%, which can be further increased by optimizing the design. This technology is promising for high-force delivery in miniature medical devices during minimally invasive surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Buckling
  • Catheter
  • Feasibility
  • Force
  • Guidewires
  • Impulse
  • Medical device design
  • Minimal invasive surgery
  • Momentum
  • Newton's Cradle


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