Bad Knees? Good News!

By Tim
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Tim's sister Sarah

In June of this year, my 57-year-old sister, Sarah, had double knee implants. She has the scars to prove it as you would not believe that she has dual knee implants just by looking at her!

In a previous post, I mentioned that my 82-year-old dad has also had both of his knees replaced (twice). So, you can bet that I am trying to take extra care of my knees (think: whirpool, massage, extra vitamins). However, due to genetics and sports injuries there is no guarantee that I won’t need a knee implant at some point in my life.

It’s no wonder that our knees wear out—they bear five times our body weight with each step we take. Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA), which replaces damaged or diseased joint surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components, is performed about 580,000 times a year in the U.S. alone. It is currently the solution that provides the most relief to patients. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons calls knee replacement, “one of the most important surgical advancements of the 20th Century.”

Thankfully, researchers, like those at Smith & Nephew, are dedicated to improving the design of knee implants. Their goals are to make the artificial knees easier to implant while working better and lasting longer. In 2007 Smith & Nephew (the U.K.’s largest medical technology company) established the European Centre for Knee Research in Leuven, Belgium to drive TKA research and innovation. They have developed new knee replacements that have been designed to last 30 years, double the time of previous designs. You can view their commericial for their newest products on You Tube here.

Dr. Innocenti, Smith & Nephew

Recently, our communications team had a chance to interview the Centre’s project manager for Numerical Kinematics, Bernardo Innocenti, M.E., Ph.D. It’s pretty cool that they are using Abaqus FEA from SIMULIA to explore and improve their knee implant designs.

Dr. Innocenti kindly explained some of the details of their design and simulation process  to us. “When you replace a knee, you are trying to replicate the behavior of biological materials, like bones, cartilage and ligaments, with non-biological ones such as titanium, stainless steel and polyethylene. Abaqus FEA is fundamental in this game because it enables us to estimate rapidly and precisely the effects of different parameters in the design or performance…whether it is bone or metal or something more complicated like the viscoelasticity of soft tissues or polyethylene.”

This focused research and use of realistic simulation is certainly good news for people like my sister, my dad…and maybe even me! The report from my sister today (four months after surgery) is that she can walk through the mall to do her holiday shopping without the disabling knee pain, that is good news!

Check out the complete Smith & Nephew case study and many other customer stories on Realistic Human Simulation in the latest issue of SIMULIA INSIGHTS magazine.

Please join me  in raising a toast to better knee implants and pain free holiday shopping!

Tim

Verney Yachts Ocean F1: Part 3 (World Record!)

By Tom
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Verney Yachts are well on their way to a robust and speedy 3D design of their yacht V39-Albatross, but what happens once it’s built? Well then is when the fun really gets going! With their innovative wing-sail and usage of composite materials, the V39-Albatross will glide along on a cushion of air above the water’s surface, and will be piloted like an airplane.

Why are they going to all this effort you may ask?

The main reason the Verney team is approaching the boat’s design and virtual testing  with the detailed professionalism of an F1 team is because they’re aiming to break a world record. They’ve publically set themselves the goal – on their website homepage it reads:

“Our Challenge: Set a new world outright sailing speed record at 60 to 65 knots (70 to 75 mph, 110 to 120 km/h)”

As always a world record doesn’t come easily. They have to sail the boat on two timed runs between 500m markers and take the average of the two runs’  speed as the record attempt. Also, as this is a sailing record, no power other  wind power may be used. Even the control systems on the boat must be manual.

None of these challenges have put the team off the record attempt, if anything it’s spurred them on! This dedication shows a real Passion for Innovation and I hope that my blog mini-series has given you an insight into the world of Verney Yachts. The work that Verney has done really projects their thoughts and imagination for everyone to see. Cheesy as it is it’s really helped me to understand the phrase “See What You Mean” that we use here at DS.

That’s all for now folks, I’ll keep you updated on the project as it progresses and you can follow them too: www.verneyyachts.com

Best,
Tom
@tombianchi

P.S. Part one and two if you missed them.

Coconuts, Blood Cells, and Snail Armor – Oh My

By Tim
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Crysomallon Squamiferum (Deep Sea Snail) Courtesy MIT

Crysomallon Squamiferum (Deep Sea Snail - MIT)

As the 2010 SIMULIA Customer Conference approaches, it reminds me of a thought-provoking presentation given by Dale Berry of SIMULIA at the 2009 SCC in London. He reminded the audience, of engineers and researchers, that  Realistic Simulation is not only good for evaluating mechanical behavior of product performance, but it’s also an indespenible tool for driving innovative research that improves our lives and society.

I personally think of the researchers who are applying realistic simulation as the ‘Unsung Heroes’ of product development. They are the ones using realistic simulation technology in amazing and creative ways to solve challenging issues facing our society, not just reduce time and costs of product development.

Here are a few examples of innovative research highlighed by Dale that  illustrate how realistic simulation can help improve our society. 

Sliced vew of a Coconut (courtesty of Blekinge Institute of Technology)

Sliced vew of a Coconut (Blekinge Inst of Tech)

Go Coconuts: Next time you think of renewable and biodegradable materials, think coconut fibers. Check out how researchers at Blekinge Institute of Technology are studying the mechanical properties of coconut fiber using Abaqus FEA.

These researchers are investigating how coconut fiber can be used as reinforcement in biodegradadable fabric and plastic containers, which could mean less landfill waste and less reliance on hydrocarbons to make plastic. 

Red Blood Cell Analysis (National Univ. of Singapore)

Red Blood Cell Analysis (National Univ. of Singapore)

Blood Cell Research: Collaboration between researchers at MIT and theNational University of Singapore has resulted in deeper understanding of how disease, such as Malaria, affects red blood cells.

They are using Abaqus FEA to model and analyze the mechanical structure and deformation of red blood cells in response to disease progression. Such realistic simulation is enabling researchers to study the efficacy of treatments for diseases more efficiently.

Bad Vibrations: Vibration induced by trains or road traffic is a frequent problem for urban buildings and dwellings. Such vibrations can range from minor annoyance to significant building damage. A straightforward explanation on how vibrations occur and transfer to nearby structures can be found at Canada’s National Research Council’s website.

Vibration Barrier Analysis (Tokyo Inst of Tech)

Vibration Barrier Analysis (Tokyo Inst of Tech)

Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology have used Abaqus FEA to evaluate how wave barriers can be improved to reduce vibration levels on nearby buildings. Check out their paper presented at the 2009 SIMULIA Customer Conference.

Now it’s your turn. What can you think of that could improve our lives or society? Better treatment for back pain? New technology for renewable energy? Better ways to dispose of hazardous waste?

Just do a simple search on Abaqus and ‘fill in your interest’. Here’s one to get you started; “Abaqus and Snail Armor”.

Let me know about the Unsung Heroes that you discover.
Tim



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