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Concept: Strength of materials


PURPOSE: To compare the biomechanical and technical properties of flexor tendon repairs using a 4-strand cruciate FiberWire (FW) repair and a 2-strand multifilament stainless steel (MFSS) single cross-lock cable-crimp system. METHODS: Eight tests were conducted for each type of repair using cadaver hand flexor digitorum profundus tendons. We measured the required surgical exposure, repair time, and force of flexion (friction) with a custom motor system with an inline load cell and measured ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and 2-mm gap force on a servo-hydraulic testing machine. RESULTS: Repair time averaged less than 7 minutes for the 2-strand MFSS cable crimp repairs and 12 minutes for the FW repairs. The FW repair was performed with 2 cm of exposure and removal of the C-1 and A-3 pulleys. The C-1 and A-3 pulleys were retained in each of the MFSS cable crimp repairs with less than 1 cm of exposure. Following the FW repair, the average increase in friction was 89% compared with an average of 53% for the MFSS repairs. Six of the 8 MFSS specimens achieved the UTS before any gap had occurred, whereas all of the FW repairs had more than 2 mm of gap before the UTS, indicating that the MFSS was a stiffer repair. The average UTS appeared similar for both groups. CONCLUSIONS: We describe a 2-strand multifilament stainless steel single cross-lock cable crimp flexor repair system. In our studies of this cable crimp system, we found that surgical exposure, average repair times, and friction were reduced compared to the traditional 4-strand cruciate FW repair. While demonstrating these benefits, the crimp repair also produced a stiff construct and high UTS and 2-mm gap force. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: A cable crimp flexor tendon repair may offer an attractive alternative to current repair methods. The benefits may be important especially for flexor tendon repair in zone 2 or for the repair of multiple tendons.

Concepts: Knee, Force, Tensile strength, Steel, Titanium, Strength of materials, Flexor digitorum profundus muscle, Stainless steel


We report the synthesis and application of an elastic, wearable crosslinked polymer layer (XPL) that mimics the properties of normal, youthful skin. XPL is made of a tunable polysiloxane-based material that can be engineered with specific elasticity, contractility, adhesion, tensile strength and occlusivity. XPL can be topically applied, rapidly curing at the skin interface without the need for heat- or light-mediated activation. In a pilot human study, we examined the performance of a prototype XPL that has a tensile modulus matching normal skin responses at low strain (<40%), and that withstands elongations exceeding 250%, elastically recoiling with minimal strain-energy loss on repeated deformation. The application of XPL to the herniated lower eyelid fat pads of 12 subjects resulted in an average 2-grade decrease in herniation appearance in a 5-point severity scale. The XPL platform may offer advanced solutions to compromised skin barrier function, pharmaceutical delivery and wound dressings.

Concepts: Skin, Materials science, Tensile strength, Strength of materials, Elasticity, Linear elasticity, Elastic modulus


To enhance the strength-to-weight ratio of a material, one may try to either improve the strength or lower the density, or both. The lightest solid materials have a density in the range of 1,000 kg/m(3); only cellular materials, such as technical foams, can reach considerably lower values. However, compared with corresponding bulk materials, their specific strength generally is significantly lower. Cellular topologies may be divided into bending- and stretching-dominated ones. Technical foams are structured randomly and behave in a bending-dominated way, which is less weight efficient, with respect to strength, than stretching-dominated behavior, such as in regular braced frameworks. Cancellous bone and other natural cellular solids have an optimized architecture. Their basic material is structured hierarchically and consists of nanometer-size elements, providing a benefit from size effects in the material strength. Designing cellular materials with a specific microarchitecture would allow one to exploit the structural advantages of stretching-dominated constructions as well as size-dependent strengthening effects. In this paper, we demonstrate that such materials may be fabricated. Applying 3D laser lithography, we produced and characterized micro-truss and -shell structures made from alumina-polymer composite. Size-dependent strengthening of alumina shells has been observed, particularly when applied with a characteristic thickness below 100 nm. The presented artificial cellular materials reach compressive strengths up to 280 MPa with densities well below 1,000 kg/m(3).

Concepts: Structure, Materials science, Strength of materials, Compressive strength, Solid mechanics, Physical compression, Specific strength, Buckling


To determine whether lower thigh muscle specific strength increases risk of incident radiographic knee osteoarthritis (RKOA), and whether there exists a sex-specific relationship between thigh muscle specific strength and BMI.

Concepts: Obesity, Mass, Body mass index, Strength of materials, Solid mechanics, Specific strength


Frustules, the silica shells of diatoms, have unique porous architectures with good mechanical strength. In recent years, biologists have learned more about the mechanism of biosilica shells formation; meanwhile, physicists have revealed their optical and microfluidic properties, and chemists have identified ways to modify them into various materials while maintaining their hierarchical structures. These efforts have provided more opportunities to use biosilica structures in microsystems and other commercial products. This review focuses on the preparation of biosilica structures and their applications, especially in the development of microdevices. We discuss existing methods of extracting biosilica from diatomite and diatoms, introduce methods of separating biosilica structures by shape and sizes, and summarize recent studies on diatom-based devices used for biosensing, drug delivery, and energy applications. In addition, we introduce some new findings on diatoms, such as the elastic deformable characteristics of biosilica structures, and offer perspectives on planting diatom biosilica in microsystems.

Concepts: Structure, Silicon, Strength of materials, Diatom, Diatoms, Silicic acid, Frustule, Diatomaceous earth


Guided bone regeneration (GBR) barrier membranes are used to prevent soft tissue infiltration into the graft space during dental procedures that involve bone grafting. Chitosan materials have shown promise as GBR barrier membranes, due to their biocompatibility and predictable biodegradability, but degradation rates may still be too high for clinical applications. In this study, chitosan GBR membranes were electrospun using chitosan (70% deacetylated, 312 kDa, 5.5 w/v%), with or without the addition of 5 or 10 mm genipin, a natural crosslinking agent, in order to extend the degradation to meet the clinical target time frame of 4-6 months. Membranes were evaluated for fibre diameter, tensile strength, biodegradation rate, bond structure and cytocompatibility. Genipin addition, at 5 or 10 mm, resulted in median fibre diameters 184, 144 and 154 nm for uncrosslinked, 5 mm and 10 mm crosslinked, respectively. Crosslinking, examined by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, showed a decrease in N-H stretch as genipin levels were increased. Genipin-crosslinked mats exhibited only 22% degradation based on mass loss, as compared to 34% for uncrosslinked mats at 16 weeks in vitro. The ultimate tensile strength of the mats was increased by 165% to 32 MPa with 10 mm crosslinking as compared to the uncrosslinked mats. Finally, genipin-crosslinked mats supported the proliferation of SAOS-2 cells in a 5 day growth study, similar to uncrosslinked mats. These results suggest that electrospun chitosan mats may benefit from genipin crosslinking and have the potential to meet clinical degradation time frames for GBR applications. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Materials science, Tensile strength, Fourier transform, Strength of materials, Fourier transform spectroscopy, Cross-link, Cross-linked polyethylene


Introduction: Orally disintegrating tablets (ODTs) have emerged as one of the novel solid oral dosage forms with a potential to deliver a wide range of drug candidates to both paediatric and geriatric patient populations. Of the plethora of available technologies, compression of excipients offers a cost-effective and translatable methodology for the manufacture of ODTs. Areas covered: The review is a modest endeavour from the authors to assemble literature published over the last couple of decades on formulation development of compressed ODT. It describes the main ODT excipients used since the introduction of this dosage form in the 1990s and explores the switch from cellulose-based excipients towards sugar/polyols. Furthermore, it unfolds the key properties of ODT fillers, binders and disintegrants with an emphasis on their advantages and drawbacks. The review also provides a critical assessment of the various strategies employed for performance enhancement of compressed ODT with a focus on the underlying mechanisms for fast disintegration and acceptable mechanical strength. Expert opinion: Recent increase in the total number of compression-based technologies for ODT development promises to reduce the manufacturing cost of this dosage form in the future. However, some of the developed methods may affect the stability of tablets due to susceptibility to moisture, collapse of pores or the generation of less stable polymorphs which require rigorous testing prior to commercialization.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Novel, Strength of materials, Tablet, Excipient, Dosage forms, Compression, Dosage form


PURPOSE: In the present study we evaluated a novel processing technique for the continuous production of hotmelt extruded controlled release matrix systems. A cutting technique derived from plastics industry, where it is widely used for cutting of cables and wires was adapted into the production line. Extruded strands were shaped by a rotary-fly cutter. Special focus is laid on the development of a process analytical technology by evaluating signals obtained from the servo control of the rotary fly cutter. The intention is to provide a better insight into the production process and to offer the ability to detect small variations in process-variables. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A co-rotating twin-screw extruder ZSE 27 HP-PH from Leistritz (Nürnberg, Germany) was used to plasticize the starch; critical extrusion parameters were recorded. Still elastic strands were shaped by a rotary fly-cutter type Dynamat 20 from Metzner (Neu-Ulm, Germany). Properties of the final products were analyzed via digital image analysis to point out critical parameters influencing the quality. Important aspects were uniformity of diameter, height, roundness, weight and variations in the cutting angle. Stability of the products was measured by friability tests and by determining the crushing strength of the final products. Drug loading studies up to 70% were performed to evaluate the capacity of the matrix and to prove the technological feasibility. Changes in viscosities during API addition were analyzed by a Haake Minilab capillary rheometer. X-ray studies were performed to investigate molecular structures of the matrices. RESULTS: External shapes of the products were highly affected by die-swelling of the melt. Reliable reproducibility concerning uniformity of mass could be achieved even for high production rates (>2500 cuts/min). Both mechanical strength and die swelling of the products could be linked to the ratio of amylose to amylopectin. Formulations containing up to 70% of API could still be processed. Viscosity measurements revealed the plasticizing effect caused by API addition. Dissolution data proved the suitability of extruded starch matrices as a sustained release dosage form. Monitoring of consumed energies during the cutting process could be linked to changes in viscosity. The established PAT system enables the detection of small variations in material properties and can be an important tool to further improve process stability.

Concepts: Viscosity, Strength of materials, Compressive strength, Work hardening, Industry, Extrusion, Rheometer, Starch gelatinization


Biocompatibility, injectability and in situ self-setting are characteristics of calcium phosphate cements which make them promising materials for a wide range of clinical applications in traumatology and maxillo-facial surgery. One of the main disadvantages is their relatively low strength which restricts their use to nonload-bearing applications. α-Tricalcium phosphate (α-C3 P) cement sets into calcium-deficient hydroxyapatite (CDHA), which is biocompatible and plays an essential role in the formation, growth and maintenance of tissue-biomaterial interface. β-Dicalcium silicate (β-C2 S) and tricalcium aluminate (C3 A) are Portland cement components, these compounds react with water to form hydrated phases that enhance mechanical strength of the end products. In this study, setting time, compressive strength (CS) and in vitro bioactivity and biocompatibility were evaluated to determine the influence of addition of β-C2 S and C3 A to α-C3 P-based cement. X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy were used to investigate phase composition and morphological changes in cement samples. Addition of C3 A resulted in cements having suitable setting times, but low CS, only partial conversion into CDHA and cytotoxicity. However, addition of β-C2 S delayed the setting times but promoted total conversion into CDHA by soaking in simulated body fluid and strengthened the set cement over the limit strength of cancellous bone. The best properties were obtained for cement added with 10 wt % of β-C2 S, which showed in vitro bioactivity and cytocompatibility, making it a suitable candidate as bone substitute. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2014.

Concepts: Calcium, Materials science, Strength of materials, Compressive strength, Physical compression, Portland cement, Cement, Tricalcium aluminate


In this paper, we reported the results of our efforts in developing DCPA/nanosilica composite orthopedic cement. It is motivated by the significances of DCPA and silicon in bone physiological activities. More specifically, this paper examined the effects of various experimental parameters on the properties of such composite cements. In this work, DCPA cement powders were synthesized using a microwave synthesis technique. Mixing colloidal nanosilica directly with synthesized DCPA cement powders can significantly reduce the washout resistance of DCPA cement. In contrast, a DCPA-nanosilica cement powder prepared by reacting Ca(OH)2 , H3 PO4 and nanosilica together showed good washout resistance. The incorporation of nanosilica in DCPA can improve compressive strength, accelerate cement solidification, and intensify surface bioactivity. In addition, it was observed that by controlling the content of NaHCO3 during cement preparation, the resulting composite cement properties could be modified. Allowing for the development of different setting times, mechanical performance and crystal features. It is suggested that DCPA-nanosilica composite cement can be a potential candidate for bone healing applications. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B, 2014.

Concepts: Orthopedic surgery, Synthesis, Strength of materials, Compressive strength, Physical compression, Portland cement, Powder, Cement