Title: Finite element modelling of a unilateral fixator for bone reconstruction: Importance of contact settings
Authors: Karunratanakul, Kavin
Schrooten, Jan
Van Oosterwyck, Hans # ×
Issue Date: Jun-2010
Publisher: Butterworth-Heinemann
Series Title: Medical Engineering & Physics vol:32 issue:5 pages:461-467
Abstract: When reconstructing a large segmental bone defect by means of a porous scaffold, a fixator is used to
stabilize the reconstruction. The fixator stiffness is an important factor as it will influence the biomechan-
ical environment to which scaffold and regenerating tissues are exposed. A finite element (FE) model can
be used to predict the fixator stiffness. The goal of this study was to develop and validate a detailed 3D
FE model of a custom-developed unilateral external fixator. In particular, it was hypothesized that the
contact interfaces between the different fixator components play a major role for the prediction of the
fixator stiffness. In vitro mechanical testing of the entire fixator as well as of separate fixator components
was performed in order to measure the stiffness. The mechanical test set-ups were simulated by means
of detailed FE models that considered different levels of refinement of the various contact interfaces. The
error on predicted fixator stiffness in comparison to measured stiffness was reduced from 121% to 16%
by refining the contact settings of the FE model. The individual sources of error between the measured
and predicted fixator stiffness could be quantitatively assessed as well. In conclusion, this study warrants
for a careful modelling of the geometry and contact settings, when using FE models for the prediction of
fixator stiffness.
ISSN: 1350-4533
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Biomechanics Section
Department of Materials Engineering - miscellaneous
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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