Reeks, John Mason (2016-05). Design and Synthesis of a Novel Nacreous-Enhanced Composite for Improved Fixation of Lumbar Total Disc Replacement. Master's Thesis.
Adults suffering from lower back pain often find that the cause of pain is degenerative disc disease. While non-surgical treatment is preferred, spinal fusion and total disc replacement remain surgical options for the patient. Total disc replacement is an emerging and improving treatment for degenerative discs. This research studies effects of microstructure of a novel composite on mechanical properties and investigates the potential application in total disc replacements. A systematic approach was taken to conduct this research. This approach includes the design of a three-component composite, fabrication of samples of the proposed composite, the characterization of the samples and their evaluation and ranking. Samples were ranked based on viability as an implant material. To validate the samples as possible implant materials, experiments were conducted to evaluate the tribological performance, corrosion resistance, scratch resistance, and bioactivity of the samples. Results showed that samples with 25wt% PP performed best with respect to tribological performance and scratch resistance while 33wt% samples had the best corrosion resistance. These results indicate that nacreous-enhanced composites show promise for improving the fixation of TDR and require further research and optimization.