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Mechanical Engineering Master's Thesis Defense - Thomas J. Rose

Thursday, May 2, 2013, from 11:00am to 12:50pm
Roberts Hall, 218

The driving problem behind the motivation to create this machine was the need to develop a method to test the pressure distribution within a mouse knee. This need is motivated by the desire to induce osteoarthritis into mice and rats, and examine the differences between sham and arthritic knees.

Given that this problem had yet to be approached no current test apparatus exists for this purpose. To remedy this lack of testing apparatus one was designed and fabricated in house at Montana State University. First preliminary measurements of young mouse knees and mature rat knees were taken to give a general range of required motions Also measurements of the tibia plateau were taken to predetermine an expected pressure range. Once these preliminary calculations were acquired design of the machine could begin starting with an outline of desired degrees of freedom that would allow the knee as natural of movement as possible. Then the fixtures were devised, and a tower apparatus that would hold the knee in place while static loading was applied to the test knee. To apply the load a mechanical system was devised to both measure and apply a loading to the knee.

Several iterations of both these systems were considered and the final product was created for testing. Several hurdles were overcome during testing, which included how to interface the biological knee to the mechanical system, how to measure the pressure distribution of extremely small areas, and the calibration of both the load application as well as the fuji film pressure paper. Testing culminated in results showing general pressure distribution through the knee and the variation of distribution with varying flexion angles. The static knee loading machine is successful in its ability to test the pressure distribution through a mouse knee.

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