The research activities are aimed at studying through experimental methodologies the functional compatibility of implantable devices for orthopedic surgery (e.g. hip, knee and shoulder prostheses) traumatology (e.g. plates and screws, external fixators), dental (e.g. dental implants and abutments), cardiovascular (e.g. vascular prostheses and stents) and spinal (e.g. rod and screw systems and spinal cages). In particular, great emphasis is given to the study of the long-term mechanical reliability of these devices, through the use of experimental procedures drawn from international standards or, more frequently, using custom made experimental procedures.
The instrumentation used is located entirely within the laboratory and consists of four servo-hydraulic testing machines (including three axial-torsional ones) and an axial electromagnetic machine, ranging from 1.5 to 1000 kN, equipped with environmental chambers for the simulation of body temperature and either contact or non-contact strain measuring systems.
The research activity is focused on the biomechanical behavior of implantable devices for orthopedic (especially spinal) and cardiovascular (stent) applications. In particular, in the case of a device for spinal surgery, international standards for the evaluation of their fatigue resistance have been critically analysed and modifications have been proposed for a better simulation of realistic in vivo conditions. As regards the study of stents, new experimental methods have been developed for the characterization of the material of the stent which allows to obtain more reliable results on its long-term resistance. Another research area is linked to the experimental validation of the computational models used by the other LaBS research groups concerning devices for spinal, orthopedic and cardiovascular. Particular skills have been developed on the study of non-traditional materials and technologies for the manufacturing of implantable devices such as shape memory alloys (Nitinol), resorbable materials or additive manufacturing techniques of metal alloys.