Bone Screw Testing

The  Challenge

Bone Screw

Bone screws are used in surgical procedures for securing implants, osteosynthesis devices, and fracture fixation plates to the skeletal system. In normal clinical use, a surgeon applies combined axial and torsional forces to the bone screw as it is implanted within the body. Manufacturers and scientists test bone screws to determine various mechanical properties when evaluating new materials and designs. The most common standard for testing bone screws is ASTM F534. The standard consists of a total of four testing annexes: axial tests, torsion only tests, or a combination of both linear and torsion tests. ASTM F543-17 Test A1 - Test Method for Determining the Torsional Properties of Metallic Bone Screws requires the screw to be sufficiently clamped and a rotational velocity between 1 and 5 rpm to be applied until specimen failure, and to measure the torque profile and the rotational angle. ASTM F534-17 Test A2 - Test Method for Driving Torque of Medical Bone Screws measures the torque required to insert and remove the screw with a constant rotational velocity between 1 and 5 rpm while maintaining an axial load of no more than 10 N in compression. ASTM F543-17 Test A3 - Test Method for Determining the Axial Pull-Out Strength of Medical Bone Screws measures the force required to axially remove the screw that has been fully inserted in the test block using the method from Test A2. The pull-out fixture then applies a tensile load at a constant rate of 5 mm/min until the failure of the bone screw or removal from the test block. ASTM F543-17 Test A4 - Test Method for Determining the Self-Tapping Performance of Self-Tapping Medical Bone Screws specifies the procedure to evaluate the axial loading required to engage a self-tapping bone screw into a standard laboratory material. Although considered a simple clinical procedure, reproduction of this in vitro results in a relatively complex motion due to the interaction between the rotation and linear axes of a test machine. The test requires a continuous rotational velocity of up to 30 rpm while the axial load is incremented during the insertion at a rate of 2 N/s. The objective of this test is to record the torque profile as the bone screw is inserted into the material and then removed.

Our Solution 

Bone Screw Testing

To perform bone screw testing to ASTM F543, either an electromechanical system with a Torsion Add-On, or an ElectroPuls™ Linear-Torsion system can be used. The Torsion Add-On can be added to any 5900 Series single column or dual column table top testing machine to add rotational capabilities. The ElectroPuls E10000 and E3000 Linear-Torsion test systems are all-electric dynamic testing systems that provide a unique linear and torsion actuator system that is capable of synchronized linear and multi-rotation testing, which makes them ideal platforms for performing the full range of tests prescribed by the standard. For both the electromechanical system and ElectroPuls system, a bi-axial Dynacell load cell is mounted to the base of the machine. Using WaveMatrix™ dynamic test software on the ElectroPuls system, a user is able to control both axial and rotational axis in closed-loop control. This gives the user the ability to easily set up the multi-axial tests as a series of steps, and displays the required information as the test proceeds. Special fixtures are used to clamp the material to the biaxial load cell, and a drill chuck is used for the drive bits.