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Sandra Abegg
, Laura Arvalos
, Antonio Aquino
, Magna Monteiro
Laboratorio de Mecnica Computacional, Facultad de Ingeniera, Universidad Nacional de Asuncin, San
Lorenzo, Paraguay.
Laboratorio de Computacin Cientfica y Aplicada, Facultad Politcnica, Universidad Nacional de Asuncin,
San Lorenzo, Paraguay.

Abstract. This paper presents the numerical analysis of hip prosthesis (stem) used in hip
replacement. In particular, we were modeled a commercial Charnley prosthesis, made of
stainless steel 316L. For the numerical simulation was used the commercial software Ansys,
based on the finite element method. Three-dimensional solid elements were used with
quadratic interpolation and full integration scheme. The criterion of mesh refinement was
based on the level of stress concentration. It was possible to observe the efforts and strains in
different sections of the prosthesis under cyclic loading. The results indicated the possibility
of failure at the vicinity of the restrictions, if the loads applied are much larger than the
applied loads on the present work, as well as in regions where occurs an abrupt change of
section when submitted to external loads.

Keywords: Cyclic loading, Hip prosthesis, Finite element method, Fatigue analysis.


At world level, it is increasing the demand for orthopedic implants. This entails a greater
effort in the search for models and materials, as well as reducing the cost of prostheses, to
provide the desired characteristics for the function they are intended, so that a larger number
of patients access to such surgeries.
To ensure that a prosthesis, with material and model specific, perform the functions for
which it was designed, it is necessary implement some mechanical tests, which follow
established technical standards, that allow knowing the internal stress state generated in the
material under the action of the probable loads.
Among the biomaterials used in hip implants, is the AISI 316L stainless steel with low
carbon concentration (0.03% by weight). This steel is widely used because of its good
mechanical properties and mainly its low cost.
In modular hip implants, the femoral component comprises two parts, the stem and the
head. The stem is inserted into the femur and performs a structural function, which must work
satisfactorily under the physical conditions inside the human body, minimizing adverse
The numerical simulation using finite elements has become in recent years into a
powerful tool and a strong ally in the evaluation of products in the health area. This technique
allows the prediction of the performance in service, so it can be selected the material and the
design appropriate to particular applications.
One of the critical service conditions of femoral prostheses corresponds to cyclic loading
to which they are subjected and fatigue that they produce, it is estimated that each year the
implant is subjected to 4 million cycles, approximately. During the activities of running and

jumping, when the body rests on one foot, the load on the femoral head may be worth 2.5
times the body weight [Oldani & Dominguez, 2005].


Of the several papers published, the authors often discuss different theories and methods to
solve problems related to performance and functionality of the femoral prosthesis. Colombi,
2002, uses the classical fatigue theory and the continuum damage mechanics to assess the
implants. There are also works [Oldani and Dominguez, 2005] that simulates static loads, in
order to observe the high levels of von Mises stresses, where probably fatigue can occur. In
this case, it should be noted that the failure mechanisms are associated with knowledge of the
internal stress state (e.g. opening, sliding, and tearing) and not only with the level of stresses
associated to its magnitude.
Using a CAD design of the prosthesis, Fig.1 we get the domain to be discretized using the
finite elements method. The loads and restrictions applied to this model are described. The
total characterization of the model is given below.

Figure 1 Simulated prosthesis.

2.1. Material characterization.

For the prosthesis simulation was use the mechanic properties of stainless steel type
316L, whose chemical composition is shown in Table 1. The stainless steel 316L have a
Youngs modulus of 196 GPa and a Poissons coefficient of 0,3. The characteristics
associated with plasticity phenomenon are given later in this paper.

Table 1. Chemical composition of material [Liu et al., 2005]

Material Content C Mn Si P S Cr Mo Ni N Fe
Steel 316L
Min. - - - - - 16.0 2.00 10.00 - bal
Max. 0.03 2.0 0.75 0.045 0.03 18.0 3.00 14.00 0.10

To cement we considered a Young modulus of 2,7 GPa and Poisson coefficient of 0,3.
The cement was modeled like an isotropic elastic linear material.

Figure 2 Fatigue curve for stainless steel 316L [Liu et al, 2005]

2.2. System governing equations

The quasi-static equilibrium in his weak form is determined by the virtual velocities
principle, whose expression is given by the following equation:


which represent the internal and external work rates, respectively. In the last equation is the
Cauchy tensor, is the strain rate, t is the force per unit area applied and (.) represents the
variation of the magnitude applied to the system (virtual magnitude).
The material constitutive law writing in rate form is given by the following hipoelastic


where represents the variation rate of the Cauchy tensor in corotational form, is the
elastic modulus tensor y is the elastic strain rate.
Whereas the rate of deformation can be discomposed additively, we have the following


for cement we have D
= 0.
Considering a yield function with isotropic hardening, we have:


where is the von Mises equivalent stress and is given by the following expression
[Flores, 2007]:


are material parameters which have the values showed in Table 2.

Table 2. Parameters used for the isotropic hardening law [Blandford et al., 2007].

1031,3253 0,011 0,3428

The flow direction is given by the expression below:


being the plastic multiplier.
For this case it can be demonstrate that:


The stress evolution is obtained from Eq. (2), by the integration using Eulers retroactive
algorithm. The plasticity evolution is performed applying the return algorithm [Simo and
Ortiz, 1985] using Eq. (3) and Eq. (4).

2.3. Discretization

It was used tetrahedral elements with quadratic interpolation and complete integration
scheme. The mesh quality was verified using appropriate criteria to ensure the convergence of
the discrete model obtained. It was used 22925 elements with 37911 nodes, type Solid 187
[Ansys Inc, 2007].
In the fatigue analysis it was applied a non-proportional dynamic load with constant
amplitude, taking into account both applied load. This allows a better representation of the
performed test.

2.4. Loads and restrictions

The maximum and minimum loads applied on the upper surface of the implant were of
300N and 2300N, respectively. These values and the general layout of the prosthesis were
based on Brazilian standards NBR 14396, parts 1 and 2.

Figure 3 Finite elements mesh with loads and restrictions, according to standards used for


Load of 300 N. It was applied a 300N load as indicated above, we obtained values of
stresses, strains and displacements that describe the levels of solicitations in the analyzed

Figure 4 Equivalent elastic strain (mm/mm).

It was verified that the structure is sufficiently robust for the applied load showing a
maximum deformation of 0.01%, approximately. The maximum deformation occurs in the
region surrounding the coupling between the stem and the holder (see box of Fig.4).

Figure 5 Von Mises Equivalent Stress (MPa).

Similar to what was observed with the strains, the maximum stresses are shown in Fig.5
enlarged region. Stress levels are below the yield stress of the material.

Figure 6 Total Displacement of the structure

In the case of displacement, as shown in Fig.6, the maximum values are given in the
upper part of the stem. These values are approximately 0.06 mm, and show both the
robustness of the structure and kinematics consistent of the results.

Load of 2300N. Applying the 2300N load, similar to that of 300N made above, we obtain
values of stresses, strains and displacements that describe the levels of solicitations in the
analyzed structure

Figure 7 Equivalent elastic strain (mm/mm).

Figure 7 shows strain values higher than those obtained with the load of 300N. This is
consistent with the value of the applied load. In this case, the maximum values of the
deformations are of the order of 0.1%. These values of deformation are obtained in the
expanded region.

Figure 8 Von Mises Equivalent Stress (MPa).

Tension values obtained in the stem are superior to those obtained with loads of 300N but
are still less than the yield stress of the material, remaining, therefore, the structure in the
region of elastic proportionality, i.e. without plastification.

Figure 9 Total Displacement of the structure

The displacements observed at the top show that the structure still bears the 2300N
strength. The observed maximum displacements occur in the top of the stem and are of the
order of 0.5 mm

Fatigue. The loads applied did not attain to the model after 10
cycles, so it is considered
that the structure did not fatigue for this load. However, due to the random nature of loads on
the implant, fatigue can occur in this structure, therefore the patient should be advised to
remain under a certain weight and doing activities that do not exceed the maximum load
applied in this numerical test.
The fatigue curve used is given in Fig.2, and it is an S-N type taking into account that is
in interest analyze high cycle fatigue (in the experimental test is used a maximum of 2,10

As shown in the previous section, the structure was robust for static loads applied. Due
the static behavior of these loads, they do not represent properly the impact loads that can be
applied as a result of bodily activities such as jumping or rapid movements made by the
person who was received the prosthesis. Moreover, in general, the applied loads vary in
reality not only in magnitude relative to those applied in the simulation, but also in the
directions and region of application. Consequently, it is possible compare different prosthesis
and tell if one is more robust than other in relation to loads applied by standard, but it is not
possible to ensure its structural integrity. Additionally, it is necessary to analyze the behavior
of the bones where these prostheses have been inserted; there is therefore a long way to go to
adequately characterize the interaction of these prostheses with the natural structure of the
human body from a mechanical standpoint.


The structural analysis of hip prosthesis stem, according to loads and restrictions obtained
from standard NBR 14396, parts 1 and 2, has shown robust for these solicitations. Applying
the same test to different implants it can estimate the robust grade of these prosthesis,
consequently the finite elements method can be a valid tool to analyze these models. The use
of computational simulation offers flexibility to impose others solicitations to the structure, so
it is possible, at the same time, apply other standards, as well as create new scenarios for
better understanding of the mechanical interaction of the implant with the body structure.
Further, it is possible to adequately model various materials, including those one with clear
anisotropic behavior, as well as the incorporation of porosity and cracks in them [Gurson,
1977], taking into account the wide variety of constitutive laws available.


The authors thank to CONACyT for financial support.


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