Date of Award

Spring 1993

Document Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Myklebust, Joel

Second Advisor

Harris, Gerald

Third Advisor

Sances, Anthony


Spinal injuries are classified as a major health care problem. The annual cost of Spinal cord injuries is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $20 billion including medical and rehabilitation services. Spinal injuries can be the result of overloading the spine in one or a combination of these mechanisms: extension, tension, rotation, lateral bending, and shear. These injuries might lead to a fracture in the vertebra or an injury to the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries, in most cases, result in disability and even death. Understanding the mechanisms of spinal injuries is a very important aspect in determining the injury criteria, designing advanced mathematical models, improving safety systems, and preventing accidents. Also, it serves as a mean to enhance the biofidelity of crash dummies. To understand the injury mechanism, mechanical tests are needed to be performed on motion segments (functional units) of the spine. A manually controlled multi - motion Electro-hydraulic Material Testing System (MTS), which is located in the biomechanics lab at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, will be used to conduct these kinds of experiments. This MTS is a unique, custom built hardware and no software has ever been developed to control this machine. The aim of this thesis is focused on developing interactive software that can be used to control the multi-motion MTS as if it is controlled by a function generator. The software will provide a ramp control signal with constant velocity to load the specimen at a constant displacement rate and a sine control signal to load the specimen at a gradually increasing displacement rate. Each of these signals can be used for compression, tension, and rotation testing scenarios. An interface between the computer and the MTS is chosen to convert digital information from the computer to analog for control purposes. This interface can also be used to convert analog signals to digital form for data acquisition purposes...



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