Mavrogordato, Mark, Taylor, Mark, Taylor, Andrew and Browne, Martin
Real time monitoring of progressive damage during loading of a simplified total hip stem construct using embedded acoustic emission sensors
Medical Engineering & Physics, 33, (4), . (doi:10.1016/j.medengphy.2010.10.025).
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Acoustic emission (AE) is a non-destructive technique that is capable of passively monitoring failure of a construct with excellent temporal resolution. Previous investigations using AE to monitor the integrity of a total hip replacement (THR) have used surface mounted sensors; however, the AE signal attenuates as it travels through materials and across interfaces. This study proposes that directly embedded sensors within the femoral stem of the implant will reduce signal attenuation effects and eliminate potential complications and variability associated with fixing the sensor to the sample. Data was collected during in vitro testing of implanted constructs, and information from both embedded and externally mounted AE sensors was compared and corroborated by micro-Computed Tomography (micro-CT) images taken before and after testing. The results of this study indicate that the embedded sensors gave a closer corroboration to observed damage using micro-CT and were less affected by unwanted noise sources. This has significant implications for the use of AE in assessing the state of THR constructs in vitro and it is hypothesised that directly embedded AE sensors may provide the first steps towards an in vivo, cost effective, user friendly, non-destructive system capable of continuously monitoring the condition of the implanted construct.
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