Luca Curcio

Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering
Field of Research:
Impact Trauma in 3D Printed Headforms
Professor Oren Petel

Reason For Participating

I chose to do I-CUREUS because I wanted to be exposed to a research opportunity in my undergraduate degree. I plan on doing graduate level studies in the future and I felt like I-CUREUS would give me the opportunity to become exposed to research early on; allowing me to develop useful research skills that I can use later on in my career. Additionally, I wanted an opportunity to apply what I am learning in my courses to actual hands on work.

I-CUREUS provided me with real, hands-on research that I would not have experienced in the classroom.


I am a researcher as part of the Impact Dynamics Research Group, founded by Professor Oren Petel out of Carleton University. Our research group investigates experimental high-strain-rate and shock wave phenomena, with a focus on materials and loading events related to personal protective equipment. I am involved in the biomedical side of this research, which focuses on linear impact head trauma in cadavers as well as in surrogate head-forms. Specifically, I prepare and run tests on surrogate head-forms, to determine their response to various linear impact velocities at different inclination angles. This data can then be compared with the data obtained from the cadaver tests, to determine similarities and differences in the responses.

Relation to Studies

My research focuses on looking at the response of head-forms under linear impacts. This involves analyzing the displacement of markers within the head-forms over time, from which stress and strain distributions can be determined. This relates to the mechanical aspect of my degree, notably my studies in Solids 1 and 2. Additionally, the first half of my research focused on material selection – which lined up with my materials class (MAAE 2700). I had to develop a strip with certain material properties to be able to use in my application – my knowledge from materials helped me when considering different physical and mechanical properties of my strip.

Value of Experience

The most valuable skills I have gained pertain to critical thinking. In research, there is no right or wrong answer. When trying to answer a research question, there are multiple different approaches that can be taken. As a researcher it is important to evaluate the potential outcome of each option, trying to figure out which outcome is the most efficient at solving the problem – from a financial, practical, time point of view…etc.

To Future Participants

I would tell people that it is a great opportunity to become exposed to hands on research in a topic pertaining to your interest. It is a great opportunity – especially if one is considering grad level studies.

Be prepared to make mistakes in your research – but it is okay to be wrong. Often important findings come from making mistakes so don’t be afraid. Research is so open ended so try to make it your own. If you have an idea that you think will work, try to make it happen.