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**DESIGN OF A PROSTHESIS FOR RUNNING IN COMPOSITE MATERIALS
**

1.Introduction

Today there exist different kinds of leg prosthesis, that are not only able to satisfy the basic functions of an amputated leg, but also to guarantee high locomotor performances. Prosthesis for running are ranked as belonging to this category of leg prosthesis. The design of these prosthesis is not univocal, because the requirements that they have to satisfy can vary in terms of amputation condition and performance. To give an example in Fig. 1.1 are reported some types of prosthesis present on the market: we can find prosthesis with an L-shape for transfemoral amputated athletes; prosthesis with a form of sickle for transtibial amputated athletes; prosthesis with a C-shape to cover long distances.

Fig. 1.1: Three kinds of prosthesis presented by Ossur; from left: L-shaped Flex Sprint, Flex-Foot Cheetah, Cshaped Flex Run.

Studies are currently focused on stiffness and form of the artificial leg, in order to optimize elastic and inertia features, and to increase the maximum attainable velocity. Prosthesis are designed with numerical analyses supported by experimental tests and field-tests to monitor the gait they give to amputated subjects. A further development is necessary in the research field of energetic efficiency, concerning especially the time of elastic response and the achievement of a walk as similar as possible to the non-pathological one. In this work we have designed a C-shaped prosthesis with form and dimensions referred to the specifications of Flexproduced by Ossur. In the first part of the project the object has been represented as a beam with three elbows and, in this 2D configuration, restraining reactions and internal actions have been calculated. In the second part the prosthesis has been modeled in 3D and submitted to a static analysis with the support of the software FEM Abaqus. In this part of the work the object has been projected in order to meet the strain requirements and to be safe in harder conditions than the normally expected ones. We have estimated the amount of energy that the artificial leg is able to store and the effect of each mechanical property of the unidirectional lamina used.

The momenta reach their maximum value. found with a simple static analysis. that is oriented parallel to the ground. while angle is of 120°. while in the lower the value has a linear trend with the highest value present on the left end. The Fig. We can obtain the order of magnitude of forces and momenta acting on the model using a suitable value for the force P. 2.4. 2. The equality between degrees of freedom and of constraint and the configuration of the constraints make the system isostatic. The sleeve is placed in the same connection point and allows only vertical displacement. .2 are shown the vertical load P. and it is conceived as a distributed load (q is a force per unit length). applied by the runner in the connection point of the prosthesis. to reproduce approximately the profile of the real model.2 shows also the explicit values of the constraints. We can notice that the maxima shear forces involve the two horizontal pieces of beam: in the upper the value is constant. 2. The prosthesis has been represented as a beam with three elbows. Internal actions has been also evaluated. results are showed in Figg. 2. that have been chosen in order to adjust the schematic representation of a beam-based model to real forms and dimensions.1 shows the proportions of lengths and angles. Bidimensional static analysis of a beam-based model: restraining reactions and internal actions. and the three degrees of constraint. The highest value coincides with P so it is equal to 2850 N.3.2 2. 2. The model has been submitted to a static analysis: in Fig. represented by the reactions of a sleeve and the ground reaction force. Length L corresponds to 10 cm. The Fig. Fig. We have chosen 2850 N. 2.5. 2. on the elbow formed by the two oblique parts. that is the mean value transmitted on the prosthesis by an amputated leg during the athletic gesture [1]. Fig. and have a constant value of about 2470 N. The ground reaction force acts normally to the horizontal part of the beam.1: Form and proportions of a C-shaped prosthesis modeled as a beam with three elbows.2: Representation of the user’s load and the constraints acting on the prosthesis. Normal forces act only on the two oblique parts. so it acts with an horizontal force and a momentum. about 520 Nm. 2.

2.5: Representation of the bending momenta oriented towards the stretched fibers zone. 2.4: Representation of the internal axial actions. 0 Fig. 2. 3.3 P C P P CC 0 Fig. . The Tab.6).1 reports the properties of a single lamina. 3.3: Representation of the internal shear actions. Creation of the model in Abaqus The prosthesis has been devised as an unidirectional laminate in epoxy matrix reinforced with carbon fibers (volumetric fraction of 0. C indicates compressive direction. Fig. words C and CC indicate clockwise and counterclockwise direction respectively.

3 clarifies configuration and constraints. in the red circle is highlighted the application point of the force.3 (MPa) 43 (GPa) 4. 3. 2.1: Profile view of the model with its dimensions. 3. Fig. F is the ultimate strength. Fig. the Fig.2: View with the width dimension. .95 Tab.55 (MPa) 48 (GPa) 2. neglecting the friction between the two elements. 35 cm 15 cm 8 cm Fig. An additional rectangular element has been created with the function of reference plate for the application of ground constraints. The profile of the prosthesis and the direction of the width generate the principal directions. 1 and 2 respectively. Therefore an interaction has been imposed between the lower extremity of the prosthesis and the plate. Both prosthesis and plate have been meshed by using quad structured elements of dimension 7 mm.4 (GPa) 148 (MPa) 1314 (GPa) 9. E and G are the normal and the shear modulus respectively. has been created within the upper horizontal portion of the profile. A reference point. used to apply the vertical force.1: Mechanical properties of an unidirectional lamina T300/934 Carbon/Epoxy.2 shows this point. that permits only vertical displacement. 3. a vertex of the plate has been restrained as an encastre. Also the final edge of the prosthesis has been constrained allowing only vertical displacement and rotation respect to the axis in the direction of the width. 3.55 (MPa) 168 (GPa) 4.2. A last constraint. the orientation of plies are referred to. has been applied to the reference point for the application of the force. The object has been modeled as a 3D deformable shell with an height of 35 cm and a width of 8 cm as showed in Figg.1 and 3. For each analyzed case the direction of force is vertical. 3.66 (MPa) 1220 0. ν is the Poisson’s coefficient.

4.1: Trend of the vertical displacement respect to the thickness of a single lamina .e. 3. 4. The Fig. i. between 35 and 55 mm [2]. The thickness of each lamina has been set in order to obtain a vertical displacement (of the point in which the force is applied) included in the range of the values considered optimal during running. 4.21 0.22 Thickness (mm) Fig. covering the entire object along its profile and all oriented in direction 1. as explained in the second paragraph.3: Configuration of prosthesis and plate.1 shows how the displacement values vary respect to the thickness of a single lamina.19 0.18 0. the red arrows highlight the boundary conditions regarding the lower part of the system.5 Encastre on a vertex of the plate Constraints for displacement and rotation on the final edge of the prosthesis Fig. Choice of the lamination thickness The prosthesis has been initially designed as a superposition of thirty unidirectional laminas. 65 60 Vertical displacement (mm) 55 50 45 40 35 30 0.17 0.20 0. The force value used for this aim is 2850 N.

is the blue region indicated in Fig. considering only the stresses in the plane. 5. we have checked that the choice guaranteed an adequate degree of safety during working.1: Red arrows highlighted the blue zone. compressive and shear stresses reached by the prosthesis. since the laminate is very thin. In this way the total thickness of the laminate is of 6. Fig. The data are presented in the Tab. 5.3 mm. The value of force applied for this verification is 5000 N. 5. simulating the application of 5000 N on the prosthesis with thirty laminas.6 We have chosen a thickness value of 0. reaches the maximum compressive value for .1) has been used. ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) To have a first indication about a possible fracture we have looked at the maximum mean values of tensile. Minimum mean value Type of stress -1330 MPa -26 MPa -6 MPa Maximum mean value 750 MPa 14 MPa 6 MPa Tab.21 mm.21 mm.1. we have considered the first ply since the highest degree of stress is localized in the outermost plies. The Tsai-Hill failure criterion (Eq. in fact on the ply 1 it reaches a compressive value of 1330 MPa. is the most problematical type of stress. that results from increasing by 75% the working value of 2850 N (for precision the resulting value is 4987. in a symmetric way (the maximum tensile value in the ply 1 is roughly equal to the maximum compressive value in the ply 30 and vice versa). in which the ply 1. that corresponds to a displacement of 37. The more stressed zone. each of them with thickness of 0. Resistance verification Fixed the thickness of the laminate.1. 5.6 mm. that overcomes the material strength = 1220 MPa. that we have round up). 5.5 N.1: Maximum mean values of stress obtained on ply 1. in which reaches the highest value. analogous question regards the ply 30 on which is the tensile value higher than the strength. 5.

30 Values in compression 1.19 0. Red color highlights the exceeding (or the equaling) of the breaking threshold.43 143.1.92 -6.52 -0.67 6. as for the other zones considered later.29 Thickness (mm) 0.45 17.02 0.35 1.31 4.07 0.13 0.76 951.21 0.01 0.08 0.17 1.24 233.46 -395.16 -1024.00 1. (MPa) -1338. even if the limit value 1 in the equation 5.73 1.12 -0.70 -16.71 0.24 0.71 -7.98 0.26 3.15 5.16 -0.64 -305.22 -0. Also in this case the object breaks in the ply 30.26 -0. for the examined zone.90 -665. we have tried to increase the thickness of each lamina.83 -216.50 -18.17 0. we have applied the equation 5.95 1.24 -0.05 -0.52 4.03 0.01 0.2: Application of the Tsai-Hill equation (last two columns) on a square of the blue zone showed in Fig.03 -0.11 0.51 -9.13 0.09 -575.25 19.10 4.87 412. Data in Tab.04 20.7 At first we have examined this zone.26 10.83 1355.06 322.59 0.57 5.68 502.37 1. 5.44 Tab.30 -20.03 0.31 682.65 15.47 0.31 -11.09 0.01 1310.21 2.23 mm.06 11.09 -0.42 2.39 53.84 22.73 4.87 4. going from 0.53 0.57 1041.13 -0.86 13.20 -0.1 is not much exceeded.00 0.06 0.26 0.36 5.02 -126. 5. As consequence of these results.48 0.38 1131.99 6.14 -0.79 2.58 0.73 (MPa) -26.11 -13.90 -15.94 861.71 -754.07 2.32 0. the outermost plies break according to the Tsai-Hill criterion.28 0.05 0.23 27.2 show that.36 0. 5.30 0.10 0.11 -0.32 -2.28 -0. .23 0. taking into account the variation of the stress values through it.11 0.85 1.46 8.83 0.13 771.04 0.29 -0.71 0.1 in the whole thickness.44 26.18 -0.00 Values in traction 0.79 -25.16 0.34 -934.94 5.01 0.97 -1114.00 2.27 -485.28 0.89 4.64 24.21 mm to 0.12 -4.78 5.53 -844.07 -0.68 3.13 0.09 -22.73 0.00 0.16 1.15 0.63 2.47 3.20 0.22 0.69 -1293.20 6.38 0.21 1.78 -1203.84 3.89 -24.58 1.50 592.20 -36.05 3.20 1221.

With regard to Fig.3 an important indication is that the maximum mean values. are lower than the strength values of an order of magnitude.5 shows that the maximum values are on the boundary of the critical zone.57. as reported in Tab. 0. 3. we have tried to use 30 plies. covering the entire profile of the proshtesis (as in the first choice) and to add four further plies.8 Therefore we have decided to change strategy. we have also considered the more stressed region for and Confronting the Tabb.1 the value 0. in which reaches the maximum tensile value in the ply 1. simulating the application of 5000 N on the prosthesis with thirty laminas. They are the same zones (blue in compression and red in traction. Since we had already checked with thickness 0.1 and 5. In the most critical zone the maximum value reached by using the equation 5. Applying the equation 5. This solution works well. 0. 5.2: With red color is showed the zone in which four plies 0. Minimum mean value Type of stress -813 MPa -16 MPa -5 MPa Maximum mean value 466 MPa 8 MPa 5 MPa Tab.27 results.1. To do a complete check of the safety condition. 0. The Tsai-Hill criterion has been successfully satisfied also in the red region showed in Fig. 5. for the ply 1) already checked since critical for . positive on one side and negative on the other side. well lower than 1. applying here the equation 5. 5.28 mm thick has been added. 5. To be more precise this zone is indicated in Fig.3: Maximum mean values of stress obtained on the ply 1.2.1 a value of 0. With regard to the more stressed regions are indicated in Fig.21 mm that the only critical region is the showed one in Fig.16 is not exceed. 5.28 mm thick. 0.2 .21 mm thick. At first we notice that the maximum mean values of stress are quite lower than the strength ones. 5. in order to avoid an excessive increasing of thickness (and so of weight) of the prosthesis. 5. for these two types of stress. covering all the profile and four laminas. . 5.1 is 0.3. 5. added only in the region of Fig.3.4. Fig. just in that region.28 mm thick.21 mm thick.

Energetic considerations Storage and restitution of energy by materials used in sports application play.4: Blue color indicates the zone in which reaches its maximum compressive values. for the ply 1. reaches Fig. 5. while red color is associated to its maximum tensile values. in general.9 6.3: Red color indicates the zone in which the maximum tensile values for the ply 1. This fact posed a serious question about the possible disparity of performance condition between the Fig. . 5. a fundamental role with regard to the performance and the safety of the athletes.

while red color is associated to the maximum positive values. Since the materials forming the prosthesis are modeled as elastic. Influence of the material properties We have done simulations with the working force value of 2850 N. without any dissipation. 7.1. The slope of a linear fitting on the whole interval is about 11 mm/kN. that is consistent with the values obtained in a more accurate study in which. for a carbon/epoxy prosthesis. in order to evaluate its influence on the vertical displacement of the point in which the force is applied.1. the restituted energy equals the stored energy. in static condition. The obtained value is about 47 J.10 runners competing with a prosthesis and the able-bodied ones. but not in a regular way. The results are presented in Fig. the different phases of running has been considered [3]. . under a working vertical force of 2850 N. The Tab. For this and the following analysis we have obviously used the lamination configuration that satisfies the Tsai-Hill criterion. The force values applied go from 1000 N to 5000 N. The slope of the curve is obviously positive and tend to decrease slowly. 7.5: Blue color indicates the zone in which reaches the maximum negative values. 5. Relation between force and vertical displacement We have done some simulations with different values of force. for the ply 1. 8. with increases of 500 N. 8. changing one by one the values of the elastic moduli and of the Poisson’s coefficient of 10% respect to the ones present in the Tab. In this way we have estimated the effect of each property on the vertical displacement and on the energy storage of the prosthesis. We have evaluated the energy restituted by the prosthesis. Positive Negative Fig.1 shows that is the only property the variation of which has a significant effect on the prosthesis behavior. 3.

2 -0. .42 44.8 GPa 148 GPa 170.05 +0.42 47.11 60 50 Vertical displacement (mm) 40 30 20 10 0 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 Force (N) Fig.52 47.87 GPa 4.03 33.02 +0.01 37.42 47.02 -0.23 GPa Displacement (mm) 42.255 0. 8.1 Energy (J) 55.025 37.11 37.07 47. 7.1: Trend of the vertical displacement respect to the vertical force Property Property value 125.345 3.04 37.77 37.54 47.11 GPa 0.03 37.57 37.66 GPa 11.43 47.05 37.2 -0.03 -0.41 47.98 Displacement variation (%) +15 -8.01 +0.1 -6.03 36.42 47.1 Fig.42 47.05 -0.2 GPa 8.03 37.1: Effect of each of the four principal mechanical properties on the prosthesis response in terms of displacement and energy storage.21 GPa 9.02 0 +0.8 +0.1 +0.55 GPa 5.35 Energy variation (%) +16.43 47.3 0.

The prosthesis has passed the resistance verification with a load increased by 75% the working one. modeled as an unidirectional laminate. Aust J Sports Med. The quantity of energy stored and restituted by the object in static conditions. Modellazione e ottimizzazione di una protesi transtibiale per attività sportiva. Bibliography [1] D. In this zone we have inserted four further plies. Goujon. is the first horizontal portion of the profile. quite higher respect to other technologies as pultrusion and filament winding. P. 47. J. 0. H. in addition to the thirty others. However the working temperature doesn’t overcome 40-50 °C. This suggests that it is the most important mechanical property that must be taken into account to obtain an optimization of performances. The axial modulus in direction 1 has turned out to be the only mechanical property having significant effect on the displacement and the energetic responses. in terms of stresses.-B. . [3] C. 2004. This technology allows a level of freedom. 10. XXXVIII Convegno Nazionale AIAS. 2009. Curti. 1981. I. [2] D. 13. is about 47 J. under the typical working load. Évolution des prothèses des sprinters amputés de membre inférieur. Genty. Miller.6) and accurate control of their direction. Piera. 55-67. Pailler. A.12 9. M. It permits also high volumetric fraction of fibers (that in this case is 0. Sautreuil. Annales de réadaptation et de médecine physique. so the temperature reached by the autoclave should not be much higher. Conclusions In this work we have designed a C-shaped prosthesis for running in carbon fibers and epoxy resin. Colombo. 374-381. in the choice of geometry.21 thick.28 thick. Production technology A suitable production technology for the prosthesis designed in this work is the hand layup and the autoclave molding. A static analysis performed (with FEM method) applying a vertical force in the connection point with the human body has revealed that the most critical zone. Biomechanical considerations in lower extremity amputee running and sports performance. 0. covering the whole profile.

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