Experimental errors in the application of photoelastic coatings on human femurs with uncemented hip stems

Luca Cristofolini, Angelo Cappello, Aldo Toni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The investigation of the stress distribution in the proximal femur is of primary relevance when testing hip prostheses. Most of the in-vitro research to date, has been conducted with strain gauges. However, the photoelastic coatings provide a field vision of the state of strain and of the most stressed points. The purpose of this work was to validate the application of photoelastic coatings to intact and implanted human femurs. Coatings of various thickness were bonded to two regions: the surface of the diaphysis, and the resection surface of the neck. A theoretical study was conducted on a geometrical model of the diaphysis to quantify some of the experimental errors. The reinforcing effect was found to be far the most important source of error for the coating of the diaphysis. Other possible sources of error such as Poisson's coefficient mismatch, incorrect light incidence angle and uneven coating thickness were also examined. Due to the uneven distribution of such errors, any correction seems impossible. The results must therefore be considered only qualitatively, as a complement to the strain gauging. The coating of the resection surface of the neck of the femur suffers much less from the reinforcing effect, but the coating is more sensitive to Poisson's coefficient mismatch. In this second application, quantitative results can be satisfactorily obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials


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