AxioMed Spine LLC: Spinal Replacement Disc
Designers at AxioMed Spine Corp. seized an opportunity to create a revolutionary replacement spinal disc using polymer and titanium. PDI scientists needed to assure that the device’s polymer portion could maintain its load-bearing properties without undergoing an excessive permanent change in shape. Optimizing the polymer-titanium bond was also a key factor.
Using an innovative method to predict creep performance, scientists characterized the polymer’s viscoelastic bond under conditions that simulated use in the human body over a 20-year span. Additionally, examination of the polymer-titanium bond using scanning electron microscopy and chemical analysis revealed potential factors that could compromise bonding integrity.
As a result of side-by-side R&D and laboratory work, the two companies ultimately optimized a proprietary method for bonding the polymer disc and titanium plates. With the new method, AxioMed improved each disc’s ability to withstand failure during cycle testing by a factor of 400, far exceeding the requirement of 180,000 cycles.
Plastic Container Failure Analysis
A major hotel chain faced a problem without any obvious solution: the plastic juice dispensers used for their continental breakfast offering consistently turned foggy and unattractive after repeated use.
Using optical microscopy, PDI scientists noted that only the inside surface of the dispensers changed in appearance. Suspecting that the fogging could be due to the contents of the dispenser, PDI conducted a series of chemical analysis and exposure tests to determine the effect of the beverages on the containers.
Microscopy and spectroscopy tests led PDI scientists to conclude that the citric acid in the juices was the root cause of the plastic container haziness. Further experimentation and discovery enabled the PDI team to recommend alternate materials to avoid future fogging problems.
The container manufacturer, juice supplier and hotel chain all realized improved product performance and significant cost savings.