Control of the micromovements of a composite-material nail design: A finite element analysis

Mor Ben-Or, Ronen Shavit, Tomer Ben-Tov, Moshe Salai, Ely L. Steinberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Intramedullary nail fixation is the most accepted modality for stabilizing long bone midshaft fractures. The commercially used nails are fabricated from Stainless Steel or Titanium. Composite-materials (CM) mainly carbon-fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) have been gaining more interest and popularity due to their properties, such as modulus of elasticity close to that of bone, increased fatigue strength, and radio-opacity to irradiation that permits a better visualization of the healing process. The use of CFRP instead of metals allows better control of different directional movements along a fracture site. The purpose of this analysis was to design a CM intramedullary nail to enable micromovements as depicted on a finite element analysis method. Methods: We designed a three-dimentional femoral nail model. Three CFRP with different laminates arrangements, were included in the analysis. The finite element analysis involved applying vertical and horizontal loads on each of the designed and tested nails. Results: The nails permitted a transverse micromovement of 0.75. mm for the 45° lay-up and 1.5. mm for the 90° lay-up for the CM, 1.38. mm for the Titanium and 0.74. mm for the Stainless Steel nails. The recorded axial movements were 0.53. mm for the 45° lay-up, 0.87. mm for the 90° lay-up, 0.46. mm for the unsymmetrical lay-up CM, 0.046 for the Titanium and 0.02 for the Stainless Steel nails. Overall, the simulations showed that nail transverse micromovements can be reduced by using 45° carbon fiber orientations. Similar results were observed with each metal nails. Interpretation: We found that nail micromovements can be controlled by changing the directional stiffness using different lay-up orientations. These results can be useful for predicting nail micromovements under specified loading conditions which are crucial for stimulating callus formation in the early stages of healing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-228
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Carbon fiber reinforced polymer
  • Femoral nail
  • Finite element analysis
  • Laminate lay-up orientation


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