Date of Award

6-2020

Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering

Department

Biomedical and General Engineering

College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences

Advisor

Scott Hazelwood

Advisor Department

Biomedical and General Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering

Abstract

Current arm bracing and casting methods for distal forearm and wrist fractures can lead to varying negative medicinal affects such as tightness, skin breakdown and bacteria growth which can cause infection. This can be alleviated by a flexibly compliant and breathable design while keeping the arm and hand fixed at the wrist to promote proper wrist and forearm fracture healing. There have been attempts made to create a 3D printable brace from a three-dimensional scan but they do not account for full encapsulation of the wrist, removability without breaking the brace, nor for the brace being too tight and leading to compartment syndrome. The goal of the brace designed in this thesis is to create a low-profile, lightweight, and breathable brace that combats the issues associated with traditional casts while also improving upon the already designed/commercially available 3D printed braces from three-dimensional scans.

An arm scan was taken of an individual and then using CAD and other design programs was modified to create a brace with a breathable pattern that doubles to alleviate discomforts associated with bracing the arm. An FEA model was created to determine the failure mechanisms of the brace and to validate the structure and material selections of the design. Once the brace was manufactured by an outsource company, the brace was applied to the student for a preliminary fit test to determine the fit and wrist alignment.

The FEA model indicates that the brace can withstand healthy human bodily forces on the wrist area. The fit test indicates that there is potential in this design to heal forearm and wrist fractures. As for the material selection, ABS vs PETG, there are indications that the PETG brace is the superior choice, but further studies are needed to validate this. Some future studies include mechanical testing, fatigue testing, and a clinical study to determine the true efficacy of this design.

Available for download on Monday, June 05, 2023

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