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A loss in bone mass and the heightened risk of falling lead to an increase in fractures in old age. Various implant systems are used to treat this. A good design is a guarantee for successful treatment. Simulation methods from the automotive and aerospace industries are being adapted and used as tools. Biomechanical laboratory tests for validating these simulations, the discovery of new fracture mechanisms, and the examination of complex systems such as implants are also of crucial importance. The idea behind "implant strength" is broad. Measuring static strengths under tensile, compression, and flexure loading with universal testing machines determines primary stability to obtain information about possible loosening or growth behavior. Testing the bone material, and performing time-dependent creep tests and stress relaxation tests, as well as measuring the pull-out strength of fixation elements, are also possible with such machines. In addition to static tests, determining fatigue strengths subject to oscillating loads in implant systems is necessary for the testing of in vivo loads.
Servo-hydraulic or new electrodynamic testing systems are used for this. These biomechanical test methods deliver a wide range of force displacement data, which is essential in determining the strength of implants. At the KL in Krems two ZwickRoell testing systems are used for testing: one 30 kN universal testing machine (Z030) and one 5 kN electrodynamic test fixture (LTM 5). ZwickRoell has comprehensive experience in implant testing and was able to use this pragmatically during the selection process of the laboratory equipment. Thanks to intelligent components, both standard-compliant and customized tests can be performed.
Innovative biomechanical tests More detailed and accurate measurement data is required for developing innovative customized implants. In addition to traditional strain gauges and force, travel, and strain extensometers, new biomechanical laboratories are using optical 3D video extensometers. Extensive strain measurement, micro-movements of the implant system, and movement studies allow for new insights into this field. The extensometers used for gathering test data can be directly integrated in the test machine software. This facilitates fast, convenient, and efficient test data acquisition. Customized implants must also be manufactured. To support this, the KL biomechanical laboratory in Krems offers CNC production and 3D printing. Finally, close cooperation is necessary among the university clinics, the KL biomechanical laboratory, and companies in this sector for the innovative development of customized implants.