Selective Laser Sintering of Passive Dynamic Ankle-Foot Orthoses
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Passive dynamic ankle-foot orthoses (AFO’s) are used to improve gait performance in those with various neuromuscular disorders. An important design characteristic of passive dynamic AFOs is the storage and release of elastic energy within its structure to help satisfy the energetic demands of walking. Thus, minimizing energy dissipation through internal friction is a fundamental criterion for selecting the appropriate AFO material. This study compared the mechanical damping of a carbon-fiber AFO to three geometrically identical AFO’s fabricated using selective laser sintering with different materials. Mechanical damping characteristics ranked the materials as Nylon 11 (best), followed by DuraformTM PA and DuraformTM GF (worst).