Studying the Fracture Strength of an Analogue Tibia with FEA

Mark Virginia
Senior Application Engineer, Altair

Plates and screws are common orthopedic devices used to stabilize fractured bones. When this hardware is removed, holes remain where the screws were located creating stress concentrations that can result in re-fracture.

This article is based upon a study conducted by Kimberly Reuters from the Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research, National Institute for Aviation Research and others on using a FE model to simulate experimental research evaluating the torsional fracture strength of an analogue tibia with screw holes. Seven configurations of the FE model were analyzed, and the FE results were compared against the experimental data and between the different FE configurations. The objectives of the study were: To develop a FE model to simulate an ultimate torsional test of the analogue tibia with three screw holes; To investigate how long bone torsional fracture is affected by holes and rotation direction; and investigate how the FE results are affected by changes to the failure model, element size, and simplification of the model’s geometry.

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