Prosthetic Limbs Case Study

Length: 3 weeks (Introductory lecture, independent research and presentations)

Level: 2nd Year of Sports and Materials Science

Key Skills: Group working, communication and independent study

Assessment: Group report and presentation

This case study looks at prosthetic technology in the sporting industry, focussing on high performance prosthetic limbs for sport. Games such as the high profile paralympics have raised interest in this area and have promoted the innovation of composite technology within the field. In this exercise you will consider the mechanical properties, processing route and materials selection for prosthetic limbs.

Session 1 (introductory lecture)

Structures and components


Filament winding

Group allocation (4-6 members)

Session 2

Independent study

Session 3



Discuss the mechanical properties of the pylon section (hard socket) of a prosthetic limb.

Specify a winding pitch for a filament wound pylon to prevent buckling under the dynamic load applied by a 70kg athlete.

Report on a suitable production method for the hard socket.

Evaluate current work being carried out in prosthetic limb development and discuss the future of limb development.


Each group must submit a single written report addressing the above tasks and summarising the main findings and conclusions drawn. The report is to be 1500 words long (about 4 pages) not including diagrams. Each group must also give a 10 minute presentation (40% of the case study mark). Ensure you introduce who you are and the main areas of your talk. Finish with a slide showing the main conclusions. Click for tips on presentations and reports.