Energy Harvesting and Sensing with Embedded Piezoelectric Ceramics in Knee Implants

Mohsen Safaei, R. Michael Meneghini, Steven R. Anton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


The knee replacement is one of the most common orthopedic surgical interventions in the United States; however, recent studies have shown up to 20% of patients are dissatisfied with the outcome. One of the key issues to improving these operations is a better understanding of the ligamentous balance during and after surgery. The goal of this paper is to investigate the feasibility of embedding piezoelectric transducers in the polyethylene bearing of a total knee replacement to act as self-powered sensors to aid in the alignment and balance of the knee replacement by providing intra- and postoperative feedback to the surgeon. A model consisting of a polyethylene disc with a single embedded piezoelectric ceramic transducer is investigated as a basis for future work. A modeling framework is developed including a biomechanical model of the knee joint, a finite element model of the knee bearing with encapsulated transducer, and an electromechanical model of the piezoelectric transducer. Model predictions show that a peak voltage of 2.3 V with a load resistance of 1.01 MΩ can be obtained from a single embedded piezoelectric stack, and an average power of 12 μW can be obtained from a knee bearing with four embedded piezoelectric transducers. Uniaxial compression testing is also performed on a fabricated sample for model validation. The results found in this paper show promising potential of embedded piezoelectric transducers to be utilized for autonomous self-powered in vivo knee implant force sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-874
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Energy harvesting
  • orthopedic implant
  • piezoelectric sensing
  • self-powered sensors
  • total knee replacement (TKR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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