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Material modeling & simulation platform help to develop fiber reinforced plastic spinal disc replacement

News International-French

17 Oct 2013

Spinal implant company medicrea uses material Digimat modeling software to predict material performance.

e-Xstream engineering, an MSC Software Company, and software developer of Digimat, a nonlinear multi-scale material and structure modeling platform for the micromechanical modeling of composite materials and structures, announces that one of the top innovators in the emerging field of spinal implants is using Digimat to predict the performance of spinal disc replacements.

Digimat is helping European orthopedic products company Medicrea to develop fiber reinforced plastic composite spinal implants to replace injured or damaged human vertebrae. Unlike most simulation software solutions, which treat all materials like metals, Digimat has micromechanical material simulation capabilities that factor the variability of composite materials into performance calculations. It works with finite element analysis solvers and injection molding analysis data to adjust the material stiffness at every location throughout the spinal implants.

Digimat has enabled Medicrea engineers to make much more accurate predictions of implant performance than possible with previous simulation solutions. Where previous solutions have over-predicted implants’ stiffness by as much as 170 percent, Digimat material models have matched physical test results.

Composite implants are a relatively recent innovation. In many cases they have supplanted the use of metal spinal disc replacement, which are more difficult to implant and do not offer the same flexibility as composites. Predicting the long-term performance of composites is more challenging than working with metals, however, because composite behaviors can vary significantly depending on the implant’s shape and the manufacturing method used to produce it. Shape and manufacturing can alter composite fiber alignment, which can unintentionally increase or decrease stiffness that affects the implant’s performance. Metals, by comparison, are uniformly stiff throughout a part’s shape.

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