Force plates are used to detect static and dynamic reaction forces due to presence of stationary or moving objects as well as the location of applied forces. The application of force plates in various biomechanical fields, such as gait analysis, has been widely suggested and investigated in the past. Several sensor technologies like piezoelectrics, capacitance gauges, and piezoresistive sensors are utilized to develop force plates with special characteristics. Among the technologies employed in force plate designs, piezoelectrics present the ability of providing a self-powered sensory system. Recently, it has been suggested to implement piezoelectric transducers as sensors in the tibial bearing of total knee replacement (TKR) implants in order to transform the knee bearing into a force plate with the ability to detect force and contact point location for in vivo knee load analysis. Considering this application, a simplified design of a force plate instrumented with six piezoelectric transducers is presented in this study. The force plate is modeled using a finite element (FE) model to investigate the sensing performance of the system. In order to validate the simulation, a prototype force plate is fabricated and tested under the same loading condition applied on the FE model. The results are presented in terms of measured location and amplitude of applied force measured by the piezoelectric transducers. For the FE simulation, the deviation of the measured location of the applied force from the actual location is obtained as 0.62 mm in the x-direction and 0.13 mm in the y-direction, and the error in the amplitude of the measured force is 0.03% of the applied force. On the other hand, the deviation in the measured location of the force from the experimental test is 0.53 mm in the x-direction and 0.1 mm in the y-direction, while the error in force is 3.6% of the applied force. The small quantities of error in both sensed location and amplitude of applied force obtained from the FE simulation and experimental test results demonstrates the potential of the proposed design to be utilized as the sensor in the knee bearing of TKR implants.
Elias Hoummadi, Mohsen Safaei, and Steven R. Anton, "Design, analysis, and fabrication of a piezoelectric force plate," Proc. SPIE 10170, Health Monitoring of Structural and Biological Systems 2017, 101700W (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 27, 2017; Published: 5 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2260381.
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