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Design and analysis of a novel mechanical loading machine for dynamic in vivo axial loading

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4 Author(s)
Macione, James ; Biomedical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180, USA ; Nesbitt, Sterling ; Pandit, Vaibhav ; Kotha, Shiva

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This paper describes the construction of a loading machine for performing in vivo, dynamic mechanical loading of the rodent forearm. The loading machine utilizes a unique type of electromagnetic actuator with no mechanically resistive components (servotube), allowing highly accurate loads to be created. A regression analysis of the force created by the actuator with respect to the input voltage demonstrates high linear correlation (R2 = 1). When the linear correlation is used to create dynamic loading waveforms in the frequency (0.5–10 Hz) and load (1–50 N) range used for in vivo loading, less than 1% normalized root mean square error (NRMSE) is computed. Larger NRMSE is found at increased frequencies, with 5%–8% occurring at 40 Hz, and reasons are discussed. Amplifiers (strain gauge, linear voltage displacement transducer (LVDT), and load cell) are constructed, calibrated, and integrated, to allow well-resolved dynamic measurements to be recorded at each program cycle. Each of the amplifiers uses an active filter with cutoff frequency at the maximum in vivo loading frequencies (50 Hz) so that electronic noise generated by the servo drive and actuator are reduced. The LVDT and load cell amplifiers allow evaluation of stress-strain relationships to determine if in vivo bone damage is occurring. The strain gauge amplifier allows dynamic force to strain calibrations to occur for animals of different sex, age, and strain. Unique features are integrated into the loading system, including a weightless mode, which allows the limbs of anesthetized animals to be quickly positioned and removed. Although the device is constructed for in vivo axial bone loading, it can be used within constraints, as a general measurement instrument in a laboratory setting.

Published in:

Review of Scientific Instruments  (Volume:83 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Feb 2012

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