Femoral Head Case Study

Length: 2 weeks (introductory lecture, independent study and presentations)

Aims: To consider the various factors involved in the design, materials selection and production of a ceramic femoral head.

Key Skills: Group working, independent study, written and oral communication.

Student Output: Group report and group presentation

This is a group-based case study that examines the various factors involved in the design, materials selection and production of a ceramic femoral head. At the end of this case study,  students should be able to:

  • Identify the critical design and property requirements and explain why they are critical.
  • Explain why Zirconia and Alumina are the current materials of choice and identify their relative merits.
  • Describe the most appropriate green body fabrication routes and explain the reason why this is the case.
  • Describe the commonly used performance and reliability validation procedures and indicators and relate them to the validation of ceramic femoral head.

After an introductory lecture, students are assigned to their groups. Each group should elect a group co-ordinator who is responsible for co-ordinating the activities of the group. Within the group, members will choose one of the following work tasks:

  • Design Function
  • Materials Selection
  • Materials Processing
  • Materials Properties
  • Component Performance
  • Component Reliability
  • Other relevant issues such as Specific Biocompatibility/Cost etc.

Groups and individuals within each group are expected to organise themselves to gather any relevant information using the Internet, Libraries, Lecture notes etc. plus other resources they locate using their own initiative.


Each group must submit a single written report (60% of student’s marks) summarising their main findings and conclusions drawn. The report is to be a maximum of 4 sides of A4 of word-processed text. Each group also needs to prepare a group oral presentation (30% of student’s marks). The group co-ordinator should present the introduction and conclusions. The presentations will be assessed in terms of: Content 15%; Presentation% Finally, groups are expected to carry out peer assessment of individual contributions to the case study (10% of student’s marks).







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