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 the prosthetic socket. Current prosthetic interface solutions attempt to alleviate these pressure gradients using soft homogenous liners to reduce and distribute pressures. This research investigates an additively manufactured metamaterial inlay with a tailored mechanical response to reduce peak pressure gradients around the limb. The inlay uses a hyperelastic behaving metamaterial (US10244818) comprised of triangular pattern unit cells, 3D printed with walls of various thicknesses controlled by draft angles. The hyperelastic material properties are modeled using a Yeoh third-order model. The third-order coefficients can be adjusted and optimized, which corresponds to a change in the unit cell wall thickness to create an inlay that can meet the unique offloading needs of an amputee. Finite element analysis simulations evaluated the pressure gradient reduction from (1) a standard homogenous silicone liner, (2) a prosthetist's inlay prescription that utilizes three variations of the metamaterial, and (3) a metamaterial solution with optimized Yeoh third-order coefficients. Compared to a traditional homogenous silicone liner for two unique limb loading scenarios, the prosthetist prescribed inlay and the optimized material inlay can achieve equal or greater pressure gradient reduction capabilities. These preliminary results show the potential feasibility of implementing this metamaterial as a method of personalized medicine for transtibial amputees by creating a customizable interface solution to meet the unique performance needs of an individual patient.

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