Optimizing 3D printed ankle-foot orthoses for patients with stroke: Importance of effective elastic modulus and finite element simulation

Chien Hsien Yeh, Keng Ren Lin, Fong Chin Su, Hsiu Yun Hsu, Li Chieh Kuo, Chih Chun Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Patients with stroke often use ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) for gait improvement. 3D printing technology has become a popular tool in recent years for the production of AFOs due to its strengths on customization and rapid manufacturing. However, the porosity of the 3D printed materials affects the kinetic features of these orthoses, leading to its lower-strength than solid ones. The effective elastic modulus of 3D printed material was measured following standard test method to obtain the kinetic features precisely in a finite element simulation. This study demonstrated that the porosity of 3D printed samples using 100% fill density was 11% for PLA and 16% for Nylon. As a result, their effective elastic modulus was reduced to 1/3 and 1/12 of fully solid objects, respectively, leading to a lower stiffness of 3D printed orthoses. A fatigue testing platform was built to verify our finite element model, and the findings of the fatigue test were consistent with the analysis of the finite element model. Further, our AFO has been proven to have a lifespan exceeding 200 thousand steps. Our study highlights the significance of determining the actual porosity of 3D printed samples by calculating the effective elastic modulus, which leads to a more precise finite element simulation and enables reliable prediction of the kinetic features of the AFO. Overall, this study provides valuable insights into the production and optimization of 3D printed AFOs for patients with stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere26926
JournalHeliyon
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Mar 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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