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Design of human artificial hip joint replacements with a wear control system

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2023
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2023

Project ID: S&T28

Total hip replacement surgery is a treatment for end-stage arthritis to regain joint functions and relieve pain. There are above 100,000 hip prostheses implanted annually in the UK, and this number is still growing along with the ageing population. The total hip replacements last after 15-20 years on average, which cannot satisfy people’s demands for living a high-quality life. Wear and wear particles are the main problems limiting the lifetime of human hip and knee joint replacements. Wear particles generated from polymer and metal materials have adverse biological reactions with the surrounding tissue and bone, which leads to inflammation and loosening problems of the joints. However, wear can only be reduced but not be avoided entirely in artificial joint replacements. This project aims to develop hip joint prostheses with a new concept of a ‘wear control and filter system’. It is the potential to lead to a new generation of lifelong lasting hip replacements.

The objective of this project is to collect the wear particles in a dedicated area within the hip implant to avoid direct contact to the periprosthetic tissue, so that unfavourite biological reactions and associated problems can be avoided. The targeting material combinations include metal (or ceramic) heads on polyethylene cups that are mainly associated with polyethylene wear particles. The project will consist of both numerical simulations and experimental tests.

The numerical analysis will be based on an established thin-film lubrication model and will explore the Computational Fluid Dynamics models for particle immigration analysis. The experimental tests will include microfluidics flow tests and wear tests to evaluate the efficiency of the wear control system. The Engineering Department has the required software ANSYS Fluent and COMSOL Multiphysics, and experimental facilities including the wear test rig, 3D printing and optical lithography to manufacture the prototypes and conduct tests. The research team also involves local teaching hospitals and Orthotek lab at Shanghai University in China, which are established collaborators of the supervisors.

Applications should have a background in Engineering, Physics or Product Design. Experience with numerical simulation or fluid dynamics is beneficial, but do not need detailed knowledge of hip joint replacements before starting the PhD.

Supervisory Team:

Dr Leiming Gao, Department of Engineering, SST

Dr David Fairhurst, Physics and Maths, SST

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

To make an application, please visit our studentship application page.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2023 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Application guidance can be found on our studentship application page.

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