A testing technique allowing cyclic application of axial, bending, and torque loads to fracture plates to examine screw loosening

J. A. Szivek, R. A. Yapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Orthopaedic internal fracture fixation plates are subjected to combined axial, bending, and torsional loads in vivo which can cause screw loosening and implant failure. This paper outlines a relatively simple technique which allows controlled application of combined axial, bending, and torsional loading to examine the loosening rate of cortical screws used to attach these plates. Fiber reinforced polycarbonate rods with a tensile strength similar to that of cortical bone were cut at half their length to simulate fractured tibii. These were compression plated using a standardized technique and placed in a loading fixture. Joint loads at the knee determined from force plate analysis and statics were applied to a plated fixture during testing. The design of the fixture allowed adjustment of the proportion of bending and torsional loads applied to the test samples. It also allowed a reproducible means of applying a predetermined axial, bending, and torsional load. Screw loosening following cyclical loading was evaluated by measuring the amount of angular displacement required to retighten screws to a prescribed torque value. A torque wrench was modified to allow the measurement of these displacements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number13 S
StatePublished - Apr 1989
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering

Cite this