Original Articles| Volume 99, 105768, October 2022

A new design for the humerus fixation plate using a novel reliability-based topology optimization approach to mitigate the stress shielding effect

  • Irfan Kaymaz
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Erzurum Technical University, Erzurum 25050, Turkey

    Biomechanics Research Group, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Erzurum Technical University, Erzurum 25050, Turkey
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  • Fahri Murat
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Erzurum Technical University, Erzurum 25050, Turkey

    Biomechanics Research Group, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Erzurum Technical University, Erzurum 25050, Turkey
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  • İsmail H. Korkmaz
    Corresponding author.
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Erzurum Technical University, Erzurum 25050, Turkey

    Biomechanics Research Group, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Erzurum Technical University, Erzurum 25050, Turkey
    Search for articles by this author
  • Osman Yavuz
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Erzurum Technical University, Erzurum 25050, Turkey

    Biomechanics Research Group, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Erzurum Technical University, Erzurum 25050, Turkey
    Search for articles by this author


      • The optimum plate model was designed as an alternative to the conventional plate.
      • Proposed approach significantly reduced computation time.
      • Higher reliability for the optimum plate was achieved.
      • Stiffness of the fixation plate was significantly reduced.



      Due to high stiffness, metal fixation plates are prone to stress shielding of the peri-prosthetic bones, leading to bone loss. Therefore, it has become important to design implants with reduced rigidity but increased load-carrying capacity. Considering the uncertainties in the parameters affecting the implant-bone structure is critical in making more reliable implant designs. In this study, a Response Surface Method based Reliability-based Topology Optimization approach was proposed to design a fixation plate for humerus fracture having less stiffness than the conventional plate.


      The design of the fixation plate was described as an Reliability-based Topology Optimization problem in which the probabilistic constraint was replaced with a meta-model generated using the Kriging method. The artificial humerus bone model was scanned, and the 3D simulation model was used in the finite element analysis required in the solution. The optimum plate was manufactured using Selective Laser Melting. Both designs were experimentally compared in terms of rigidity.


      The volume of the conventional plate was reduced from 2512.5 mm3 to 1667.3 mm3; nevertheless, the optimum plate had almost one-third less rigidity than the conventional plate. The probability of failure of the conventional plate was computed as 0.994. However, this value was almost half for the optimum fixation plate.
      The studies showed that the new fixation plate design was less rigid but more reliable than the conventional one. The computation time required to have the optimum plate was reduced by one-tenth by applying the Response Surface Method for the Reliability-based Topology Optimization problem.

      Graphical abstract


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