Injection molding of vertebral fixed cage implant
A vertebral cage is a hollow medical device which is used in spine surgery. By implanting the cage into the spine column, it is possible to restore disc and relieve pressure on the nerve roots. Most cages have been made of titanium alloys but they detract the biocompatibility. Currently PEEK (polyether ether ketone) is applied to various implants because it has good properties like heat resistance, chemical resistance, strength, and especially biocompatibility. A new shape of vertebral cage is designed and injection molding of PEEK is considered for production. Before injection molding of the cage, it is needed to evaluate process conditions and properties of the final product. Variables affecting the shrinkage of the cage are considered, e.g., injection time, packing pressure, mold temperature, and melt temperature. By using the numerical simulation program, MOLDFLOW, several cases are studied. Data files obtained by MOLDFLOW analysis are used for stress analysis with ABAQUS, and shrinkage and residual stress fields are predicted. With these results, optimum process conditions are determined.
KeywordsVertebral cage Injection molding Numerical simulation Shrinkage Residual stress
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