UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

New Approach to foot orthotics materials : hydrogel insoles Kermen, Emre


Orthotics have been utilized by clinicians for many years to treat foot-related abnormalities. With advancements in material sciences, the footwear industry started utilizing synthetic materials which have better and suitable properties. Clinicians, who prescribe foot insoles, need to have an extensive understanding of the properties and characteristics of insole materials, to make informed decisions to meet the patients' needs. This thesis showcases utilized techniques and systems to evaluate orthosis properties as well as current criteria to date. Researchers have utilized a variety of testing techniques to examine properties of insole materials including; bench testing, simulated in-shoe conditions, in-shoe testing, and finite element analysis. Even though, there is a great understanding of material properties with endless diverse composition and thicknesses of each material makes clinical recommendations on the choice of material an impossible task. As the footwear orthosis industry shifts the focus from material to design, some researchers explore various anisotropic materials to create a homogeneous insole that can support as well as relieve pressure on patient’s feet. The objective of this research entails design and evaluation of novel hydrogel material in the field of foot orthotics. To accomplish this, first the material and design criteria of insoles had to be identified. This was followed by design and fabrication of insole molds. One of the requirements of hydrogel synthesis was development of molds to shape the solution. Extended finite element analysis of the human foot model along with insole designs were conducted to validate the designs. Manufacturing prototypes phase begun with design and expansion of an exterior thermal cycling bath that could enclose the orthotic. The hydrogel samples that were synthesized within the bath were taken through material testing validating the application of the hydrogel in the footwear field.

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