Simulating Bioresorbable Lattice Structures to Enable Time-dependent Stiffness in Fracture Fixation Devices

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Hawthorn, Barnaby (1); Triantaphyllou, Andrew (2); Khan, Farhan (2); Dyson, Rosemary (3); Thomas-Seale, Lauren E. J. (1)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: School of Engineering, University of Birmingham; 2: The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) Ltd, United Kingdom; 3: School of Mathematics, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 3175-3184
DOI number:


Additive manufacture (AM) enables a greatly increased design freedom owing to its ability to manufacture otherwise difficult or impossible geometries. However, design creativity can often present itself as a barrier to realising the advantages that AM could offer. In this study the use of AM, bioresorbable materials and lattice design is considered as a method of satisfying contradicting design requirements during fracture healing. Often, immediately after a fracture high stiffness fixation is required; contradictingly during the remodelling phase high stiffness can inhibit bone healing. This study proposes the use of a bioresorbable body centred cubic (BCC) or face centred cubic (FCC) lattice structure to meet the need for tailored variation in implant stiffness over time. To reduce computational expense of lattice modelling a method is outlined, including the use of homogenisation. Results show homogenised representations perform within 5.2% and 1.4% for BCC and FCC unit cells respectively, with a 95% reduction in computational expense. Using resorption rates from the literature, time-dependent change in unit cell geometry was also modelled, showing the way in which a decrease in stiffness over time could be achieved.

Keywords: Additive Manufacturing, Biomedical design, Simulation, 4D Printing, Lattices

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