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Technical Article!

Technical Article


SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSTIBIAL PROSTHESES – APPLICATION OF APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGIES

The absence of a limb or part of a limb requires the use of a prosthetic device in order to improve the quality of life of the amputee and reinsert people into the society. Technological advances allow the development of more sophisticated synthetic fiber composites and high-performance polymers. These materials are applied in large scale in the prosthetic industry. However, excessive use of these materials may lead to serious environmental and socioeconomic problems.

In addition, in some countries entitled 'developing countries', where unexploded land mines and ordinance cause the increase of the number of amputees, both architectural barriers and prohibitive costs limit the access to these materials. The Appropriate Technologies advocate the use of natural resources for the benefit of the community and the respect of sustainability’s rules. Hence, the natural fiber jute was combined with the natural matrix composed of starch, sucrose and acetic acid, resulting in a 'green' composite. The intention is to apply this composite in the manufacture of sockets of transtibial prostheses.

The methodology involved the application of engineering and microbiology concepts to study the mechanical properties, solubility and proliferation of bacteria.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

In view of the technological advances achieved in medicine and engineering, we find improvements in the quality of life of amputees, enabling their rehabilitation in various areas of daily life (Kauzlaric, 2007; Kistenberg, 2014). It must be emphasized the study of biomaterials, which presupposes the development of materials with properties and specific indications, having as main objective the biocompatibility (Basu , 2010; Rihova, 1996;  Williams , 2008; Leong, 2001). We note recent advances in the application of natural fibers like jute, flax, sisal, kenaf, coir, bamboo, among others, in composites. Hence, the development of composite materials with fibres and resins from renewable raw materials constitutes a milestone both in an ecological and engineering perspective (Maranon, 2012).

 

 

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS

The limb prototype developed is shown in Fig. 1.

Fig.1 Prototype of a limb prepared for a compression test

Different solutions were tested under different environmental conditions. The results of tensile tests are presented in Tables 1.

Material     Tensile strength(MPa)     StD       Young’s modulus (MPa)     StD

Juta1S/V                13,04                     0,38                  365,25                      45,06

Juta7S/V                13,34                     0,75                 1092,26                     80,74

Juta1C/V                13,83                     0,09                  432,84                      24,43

Juta7C/V                14,07                     0,30                  929,80                      51,58

 

A composite system with a starch matrix and jute fiber may correspond to a solution feasible to the needs described above. The stages of the current manufacturing processes of the sockets were adapted and the viability of using new methods was resorted to. However, several factors may affect the long-term mechanical behavior of these prostheses. Hence, creep and fatigue tests should be performed in order to predict the prostheses durability.

 

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