Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Document Type



In the United States, over 300,000 hip replacements are performed each year. Most hip replacements are performed in elderly patients, along with a small number performed in younger patients suffering from degenerative arthritis. Over time, total hip replacements may fail and require revision surgery, with failures being the result of a wide array of causes such as implant wear, infection, dislocation, and fracture. Of particular concern are periprosthetic fractures, defined as common bone fractures around the implants of a total hip arthroplasty, which are causally related to factors such as patient age and gender, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. Detection of periprosthetic fractures currently relies on the frequent use of x-ray imaging, which increases risks of developing health complications, such as potential cancers. Additionally, imaging to determine a catastrophic implant failure is generally only performed after a patient injures them self or suffers pain; thus, not allowing for continuous monitoring and effective prevention in early stages of implant failure. To develop a better method of preventing and diagnosing periprosthetic fractures, a new direction is needed. In this research, implant materials, bone, and the bone-implant interface are investigated through a structural mechanics framework with the application of structural health monitoring methods used as a real-time strategy to assess damage to the near-implant bone. A structural health monitoring method that holds potential to detect damage in this application relies on the piezoelectric effect, a reversible phenomenon linking mechanical strain and electric fields of crystalline materials, and the use of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) patches operating as actuator-sensors pairs to detect mechanical property changes in bone. Digital image correlation (DIC) is used to monitor strain and crack propagation during mechanical deformation of the tested materials. My research seeks to improve the ability to detect damage and fracture associated with implant failure using continuous structural health monitoring with piezoelectric sensors, thus guiding the creation of safer and more effective methods to treat and prevent periprosthetic fractures on total hip arthroplasty patients.



Committee Chair

Hoffseth, Kevin F.

Available for download on Monday, April 05, 2027