Date of Award
Master of Science
Often bone fractures are joined by inserting metal plates and screws to hold the fragmented bone under compression. However, after the fractured bone is healed removing the screws leaves holes in the bone which takes months to fill up and heal completely. The goal of this research is to investigate those voids specifically in a finite element model of a femur. The holes were found to experience high stress that can easily lead to crack propagations during everyday activities. Finite element models of femurs were modeled after two common fracture fixation systems, specifically just after the plates, rods and screws are removed. To observe the stress levels bones are likely to experience, common mechanical tests that are relevant to or associated with common daily activities were performed. While the 3-point bending tests did not yield significant results, the compression and torsion tests produced high stress areas near the screw holes. In certain cases, the von Mises’ stress reached 3.66 x 106 N/mm2. Our finite element modeling seeks to establish groundwork for future explorations on the holes created by fracture fixation hardware. In the future, this work will lead to redesigning of fixation systems with reduced stress concentration around the holes. Therefore, the initiation of new cracks around these holes will be limited during everyday activity.
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