Abstract

Physical models of the human cervical spine vertebrae (C3 to C7) were developed based on the geometrical details obtained from 1.0 mm close-up axial computed tomography scans. The vertebrae were constructed using the rapid prototyping technique. Polyurethane rigid foam, pottery plaster and hydrocal white gypsum cement materials with varying strength combinations were used to construct the models. Biomechanical strength tests were conducted on a total of sixty physical vertebral model specimens by compressing to 50% of their initial height using an electrohydraulic testing machine. The stiffness, energy absorbed at failure, force-deflection and stress-strain responses were computed and compared with cadaver experimental data. The mean compressive force sustained by pottery and hydrocal materials compared well with the cadaver experimental data, while the Polyurethane exhibited lower forces.

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