Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Brendan O'Toole

Second Committee Member

Darrell Pepper

Third Committee Member

William Culbreth

Fourth Committee Member

Janet Dufek

Fifth Committee Member

Peter Stubberud

Number of Pages



Since its conception in the 1970’s, the total condylar knee design of the total knee replacement (TKR) has not changed much and is not without its disadvantages. A novel alternative concept has been proposed as an “interpositional arthroplasty implant for application into a joint to pad cartilage defects, cushion, and preserve joint integrity, reduce pain and improve function.” The focus of this dissertation was to design and build a knee simulator which could test the implant concept for wear in physiologically relevant conditions. Fifteen design objectives were specified to achieve a proposed in-vitro testing protocol. The Mechanical Articulating Rig for In-Vitro Analysis (MARIA) knee simulator was fabricated after various design and prototype iterations. The MARIA knee simulator was validated against fifteen design objectives. The simulator can be used with anatomically correct tibial and femoral components or simplified components for preliminary material characterization studies. Six independent test stations were developed with the ability to encapsulate the specimens with a fluid to enable lubrication of the test specimens during testing. ChronoFlex® AR polycarbonate urethane (PCU) test specimens, which met the guidelines of the novel alternative knee implant concept, were tested on the MARIA knee simulator. The test specimens failed before a complete wear test of at least 10,000 cycles was finished. A redesign of the PCU specimen or the fixturing method is proposed for future work. If validated, the PCU interpositional arthroplasty knee implant could provide an alternate means of alleviating knee osteoarthritis (OA) for millions of people.


bioengineering; biomaterial; chronoflex; knee implant; knee simulator; osteoarthritis


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Mechanical Engineering

File Format


File Size

7200 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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