Carbon Composites e.V. (CCeV)
Am Technologiezentrum 5
Tel.: +49 821 – 2684 1104
Mobil: +49 151 – 27596905
Fax: +49 821 – 2684 1108
Composites in Medical Engineering
Carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRP) are on the advance in medical technology, in particular in orthopaedics, neuro-orthopaedics and orthotics (splints, corsets, inserts etc.). Properties such as low weight, resistance, corrosion and temperature resistance, resistance against acids and organic solvents, radiation permeability and X-ray transparency promote this development. In this way, for example, carbon composite materials can be used for highend prosthetics, orthoses (lower leg orthoses, foot-lifter orthoses, knee-encapsulating orthoses), neurostimulation devices, implants and housings for joints. CRFP parts can also be used in crutches, the surfaces of operating tables, in patient supports, X-ray cassettes or
wheelchairs. There is also a multitude of application possibilities in the field of sports equipment. Fibre composite materials are flexibly mouldable, fatigue-resistant and feature high dimensional stability and rigidity.
Ideas and areas of application
Whether ideas such as the spray carbon bandage for orthopaedic and accident surgery applications will achieve their breakthrough still remains to be seen. Almost 250 ideas for CFRP applications in medical engineering were entered for an ideas and innovations competition held by the two German leading-edge clusters “MAI Carbon” and “Medical Valley” at the end of 2013. One special property of CFRP is certainly its X-ray transparency and the resulting reductions in radiation intensity. X-ray tables made of carbon substantially improve patients’ X-ray compatibility.
Recognising and getting to grips with challenges in medical engineering
The numerous advantages of the use of CFRP in medical engineering are countered by several challenges. For example, the use of carbon composite materials is still relatively expensive; the aim is to prove and display the advantages of the material in comparison to established materials such as titanium, and certification processes must be clarified and accelerated. The biocompatibility in some applications must also achieve final verification.
The transparency of application possibilities must also be improved within the medical community. And finally, an increase in the degree of automation is on the agenda for medical technological productions.