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Analysis of Orthopaedic Implants: A Multi-scale Approach


Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2019.

The PhD will be based in the School of Mechanical and Design Engineering and will be supervised by Dr Bidyut Pal, Dr Gianluca Tozzi and Professor Gordon Blunn.

The work on this project will:
-Contribute to research on multi-scale modelling and characterisation of orthopaedic implant fixation
-Inform future implant design


Project description
Despite the success of the joint replacement procedures, failures of the reconstructed joints are still a major concern. For example, the cumulative probability of revision (95% CI) after primary hip replacement is 6.2% at 11 years. The number of primary joint replacement procedures increasing year by year with a total of ~700,000 hip surgeries carried out between 2003 and 2014. Around 10% of the primary surgeries are expected to undergo a revision surgery. As the revision surgeries are less successful, costlier, and technically more demanding, this set an increasing cost to the healthcare system. Mechanical loosening of the implant is responsible for the largest proportion of the failures of reconstructed joints. Implant fixation, a key area concerning how implants are secured to bone and the influence of implant design on the long-term integrity of such fixation under physiological loading conditions, has primarily been investigated based on the continuum Finite Element (FE) modelling approach at a macro-scale, and more recently using micromechanics approach. However, the precise relationship between the failure of the reconstructed joints and the role of the biomechanical factors are yet to be understood fully. The aim of the proposed research is to develop a fundamental understanding of the mechanics of repair and replacement strategies of load-bearing hard tissues. Multiscale characterisation (i.e. advanced XCT imaging/ 3D printing) and FE modelling will be carried out for typical cases, sought from clinical collaborations with surgeons; and generic information on treatment strategies will be developed for applications in orthopaedics. This project is aligned with the University strategic research and innovation themes of ‘Health and Wellbeing’, and ‘Future and Emerging Technologies’.

The successful candidate will contribute in the research in multi-scale modelling and characterisation of orthopaedic implant fixation. You will work in the Bioneer research group, contributing to developing a multi-scale modelling framework, building models at the micro- and macro- scales to gain insight into implant fixation integrity to inform future implant design that can improve clinical outcome. The approach will be a combination of FE modelling, advanced experimental techniques (in situ high-resolution XCT imaging), and 3D printing of implant prototype. There are state-of-the-art facilities in-house for orthopaedic research, including in situ loading arrangement within a high-resolution micro-focus CT, associated Digital Image/Volume Correlation techniques (DIC/DVC), and a laser sintering based 3D metal printer available at the Zeiss Global Centre at the Future Technology Centre, as well as all necessary computational software and the high-speed supercomputer SCIAMA.


Entry Requirements

General admissions criteria
You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class
or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements
Knowledge of biomechanics, finite element modelling, solid modelling, programming and medical image processing will be an advantage.


How to Apply
We’d encourage you to contact Dr Bidyut Pal () to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form and select ‘Mechanical and Design Engineering’ as the subject area. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.


If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code ENGN4650219 when applying.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available. The bursary is available to UK and EU students only and covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant in line with the RCUK rate (£14,777 for 2018/19). The Faculty of Technology may fund project costs/consumables up to £1,500 p.a.

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