Effect of laser shock peening on fatigue life and surface characteristics of stainless steel cortical bone screws

Christopher B. O'Sullivan Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
Present address is Randwick Equine Center, 3 Jane St, Randwick, New South Wales 2031, Australia.

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 BVSc, MS
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Alicia L. Bertone Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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 DVM, PhD
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Alan S. Litsky Department of Orthopedics, School of Public Health, Biomedical Engineering Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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James T. Robertson Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Abstract

Objective—To investigate the effect of laser shock peening on the fatigue life and surface characteristics of 3.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screws.

Sample Population—32 stainless steel, 3.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screws.

Procedure—Screws were randomly assigned to an untreated control group or 2 power-density treatment groups, 6 gigawatts (GW)/cm2 and 8.5 GW/cm2, for laser shock peening. Number of cycles to failure and findings on scanning electron microscopy-assisted morphometric evaluation, including the mode of failure, surface debris, surface damage, and thread deformation, were compared between control and treated screws.

Results—The 6 GW/cm2 treated screws had a significant (11%) improvement in fatigue life, compared with untreated control screws. The 8.5 GW/cm2 treated screws had a significant (20%) decrease in fatigue life, compared with control screws. A mild but significant increase in thread deformation was evident in all treated screws, compared with control screws. The 8.5 GW/cm2 treated screws had significantly more surface irregularities (elevations and pits), compared with control or 6 GW/cm2 treated screws.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A modest positive increase in fatigue strength was produced by this design of laser shock peening on the midshaft of cortical bone screws. High laser shock peening power densities were detrimental, decreasing screw fatigue strength probably resulting from structural damage. Greater fatigue life of cortical bone screws can be generated with laser shock peening and could reduce screw breakage as a cause of implant failure; however, future studies will be necessary to address biocompatibility, alternative cleaning techniques, alterations in screw strength and pullout characteristics, and effects on susceptibility to corrosion. ( Am J Vet Res 2004;65:972–976)

Abstract

Objective—To investigate the effect of laser shock peening on the fatigue life and surface characteristics of 3.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screws.

Sample Population—32 stainless steel, 3.5-mm-diameter cortical bone screws.

Procedure—Screws were randomly assigned to an untreated control group or 2 power-density treatment groups, 6 gigawatts (GW)/cm2 and 8.5 GW/cm2, for laser shock peening. Number of cycles to failure and findings on scanning electron microscopy-assisted morphometric evaluation, including the mode of failure, surface debris, surface damage, and thread deformation, were compared between control and treated screws.

Results—The 6 GW/cm2 treated screws had a significant (11%) improvement in fatigue life, compared with untreated control screws. The 8.5 GW/cm2 treated screws had a significant (20%) decrease in fatigue life, compared with control screws. A mild but significant increase in thread deformation was evident in all treated screws, compared with control screws. The 8.5 GW/cm2 treated screws had significantly more surface irregularities (elevations and pits), compared with control or 6 GW/cm2 treated screws.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A modest positive increase in fatigue strength was produced by this design of laser shock peening on the midshaft of cortical bone screws. High laser shock peening power densities were detrimental, decreasing screw fatigue strength probably resulting from structural damage. Greater fatigue life of cortical bone screws can be generated with laser shock peening and could reduce screw breakage as a cause of implant failure; however, future studies will be necessary to address biocompatibility, alternative cleaning techniques, alterations in screw strength and pullout characteristics, and effects on susceptibility to corrosion. ( Am J Vet Res 2004;65:972–976)

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