Abstract

While using a prosthesis, transtibial amputees can experience pain and discomfort brought on by large pressure gradients, at the interface between the residual limb and prosthetic socket. Current prosthetic interface solutions attempt to alleviate these pressure gradients by using soft homogenous liners to reduce and distribute pressures. This research investigates an additively manufactured metamaterial inlay with adjustable mechanical response in order to reduce peak pressure gradients around the limb. The inlay uses a hyperelastic behaving metamaterial (US10244818) comprised of triangular pattern unit cells which can be 3D printed with walls of various thicknesses controlled by draft angles. The hyperelastic material properties are modeled using a third order representation based on Yeoh 3rd order coefficients. The 3rd order coefficients can be adjusted and optimized to represent a change in the unit cell wall thickness to create an inlay that can meet the unique offloading needs of an amputee. Finite element analyses evaluated the pressure gradient reduction from: 1) A common homogenous silicone liner, 2) A prosthetist’s inlay prescription that utilizes three variations of the metamaterial, and 3) A metamaterial solution with optimized Yeoh 3rd order coefficients. When compared to a traditional homogenous silicone liner for two unique limb loading scenarios, the prosthetist prescribed inlay and optimized material inlay can achieve equal or greater pressure gradient reduction capabilities. These results show the potential feasibility of implementing this metamaterial as a method of personalized medicine for transtibial amputees by creating customizable interface solution to the meet unique performance needs of an individual patient.

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