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Adhesives for prosthetic devices / biomechanical limbs

Prosthetic devices use cutting edge technology and high performance lightweight composite materials in order to provide the wearer the ultimate in comfort, natural movement and appearance.  Due to the different advanced materials used and the performance needed, there is often a requirement to use structural adhesives.

Adhesives can be used to bond various components of an artificial leg or arm. Parts are often made of stainless steel or titanium (particularly the “pylon” section of a prosthetic leg) which is then encased in an outer foam mould.  The upper section comprises of a socket which must fit the patient comfortably.

Nowadays multi-axis laser scanning helps make sure the socket is engineered to provide maximum comfort to the wearer and fast curing adhesives are used to “build-up” parts during the fitting and scanning process. Permabond PT321 fast curing two-part polyurethane is a popular product used for this fitting and adjustment during the prototyping stage, its fast gel time (60-90 seconds) ensures the patient isn’t overcome by boredom whilst waiting for the prosthetist to get the ergonomics correct.

The Paralympics is a great event to showcase advancing technology in the world of prosthetics. To ensure maximum performance, lightweight composite materials such as carbon fibre predominantly feature.  Because aesthetic appearance is less vital in sporting competitions, it makes it easier to see how well engineered and constructed these prosthetic limbs are.  Adhesives used have to combine high peel, tensile and shear strength, shock and impact resistance, and be able to bond a wide variety of dissimilar materials whilst keeping the assembly as lightweight as possible.

Permabond offers a wide range of adhesives suitable for prosthetic devices – from threadlockers and retainers for the inner workings of a prehensor or biomechanical leg, to high performance structural adhesives for composite bonding and not forgetting flexible adhesives which are able to bond silicone-based synthetic skin and keep it feeling and moving as naturally as possible (with no detectable rigid glue layer).

For further information or recommendations and advice for your application, please contact Permabond.