Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Advisor

Bajwa, Sreekala

Reader

Griffis, Carl

Second Reader

Carrier, Julie

Abstract

According to the World Health Organization, 0.5% of the population in developing countries is in need of prostheses or orthoses. For this population, obtaining a prosthetic is made difficult due to medical and transportation costs as well as a general lack of area resources. One possible solution to these problems would be to design a prosthetic socket from an inexpensive biodegradable material that could be produced in developing countries. One such material has been developed by Ecovative Design, LLC. Ecovative’s technology grows mycelium, mushroom roots, throughout a plant fiber matrix. Ecovative products are completely biodegradable and made naturally from local agricultural byproducts allowing it to be produced anywhere in the world. The objective of this project is to test material properties of Ecovative flat stock samples to analyze the material’s applicability as a prosthetic socket for developing countries. Properties evaluated include specific gravity, water absorption, coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CLTE), and hardness. The average specific gravity of the samples ranged from 0.1036 to 0.1440; the average water absorption ranged from 298.70 to 350.48%; the average CLTE ranged from -17.42 to -2.99 x 10-5/℃; the top hardness ranged from 30.47 to 37.63 N; the bottom hardness ranged from 17.49 to 38.70 N. From this data, it was determined that the Ecovative samples tested have potential to be used in prosthetic sockets if it can be redesigned to lower the water absorption. A hydrophilic coating would be one of the recommendations to decrease the water absorption. Future research should include further evaluation of a hydrophobic coating for the Ecovative materials, complete characterization of the material as well as implementation within floatation devices, safety mats, and arch support shoe inserts.

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