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In order to provide a deeper insight into the relationship between critical load cases when skiing and the load build up in knee ligaments, a knee simulator has been developed. This mechanical knee simulator duplicates closely realistic knee response to skiing and falling loads. A computerized data acquisition and analysis surveys the exceedance of knee ligament injury thresholds. The close-to-realistic knee stiffness properties are assured by pneumatic cylinders, which are furthermore adjustable to consider the age dependency of the soft tissue characteristics. This knee simulator offers the following degrees of freedom of the tibia in respect to the femur, estimated to be relevant for that purpose: internal/external rotation, varus/valgus rotation, and flexion rotation in addition to anterior translation. The device has an open architecture, and upcoming newly developed knowledge about knee ligament properties, e.g., at typical high speeds of falling loads, can be implemented easily. The initial properties of the simulator are derived mainly from available literature data. This knee simulator is in particular suitable for ski safety binding designers. With a ski installed on the device's sole, it will behave similar to a real knee. The securing state of the binding during skiing loads as well as the releasing state of the binding during falling loads can be investigated on a comprehensive basis. The author is confident that the use of this simulator may help to understand the persistence of the still-important number of knee ligament injuries in skiing with today's ski safety bindings. An early result of a ski safety binding test is presented.
knee simulator, simulation of knee response
Diplomeister Maschineningenieur ETH, Ingenieurbüro Flugwesen und Biomechanik IFB AG, Bremgarten,