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Xiao-Yan Gong's picture

Role of Mechanics in Medical Implant Industry

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I believe that questions Zhigang raised today worth discussing as a topic within this forum.  I will start and please comment.

The traditional roles of mechanics in the medical implant industry is to ensure safety through reliability assessment and to prove functionality through in-vitro testing.

Things are changing, in mid-90s, Charley Taylor and his colleagues pioneered "predictive medicine" and "simulation-based medical planning" in which they uses CFD to help making surgical decisions.  Professor Taylor's research in "predictive medicine" and "simulation-based medical planning" has been featured on several television and radio programs including Quantum, Beyond 2000, New Media News, and The Osgood Files and has appeared in Discover, Mechanical Engineering, Technology Review and The Scientist magazines. (statement directly from his web site).  Mechanics goes into the prediction of medicine performances.

Mechanics of Materials Research Impacts US Aluminum Industry, Energy, and Environment

Initially posted on Applied Mechanics News on 28 April 2007.

Hot rolling from ingot is the dominant fabrication method of producing plate, sheet, and foil aluminum products. It is a striking fact that the total rolling-plant recovery of aluminum process from ingot to final products is typically about 50%. This recovery loss causes enormous amount of energy waste both as remelt energy and energy to process material that is just recycled. Assuming the annual US domestic net shipments of sheet and plate products being 10,500 million lb, 10% improvement of the hot rolling recovery will result annual savings of $126 million per year for the US domestic aluminum industry. The annual domestic energy savings would be 2.54 trillion Btu. The environmental benefits include annual reduction of 2.32 million lb SOx , 1.01 million lb NOx, 303.2 million lb CO2, 0.67 million lb of particulate, and 11000 lb VOCsd .

The fundamental inability to reduce or eliminate these recovery losses is “lack of the integrated models that relate structural properties to manufacturing processes”. Currently, processing parameters are determined by trial and error and largely based on experience. This makes it difficult to optimize the process even on the macroscale level, and almost impossible from microstructure level. Research in the following areas are desirable:

Henry Tan's picture

Mitigating the threat of terrorist attacks

The following are links to the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) documents:

Mitigating the threat of terrorist attacks against high occupancy buildings is a challenging task.

This chapter presents several methodologies for architects and engineers to quantify risk and to identify the most effective mitigation measures to achieve a desired level of protection against terrorist attacks at an acceptable cost.

Xiao-Yan Gong's picture

Nitinol, stent fracture and related issues

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Stent and Nitinol have revolutionized the medicine.  In past decades, guidewires, stents, filters and many minimumly invasive devices and implants are made of Nitinol and they proved to be very successful.

However, the fatigue behavior of Nitinol has not been well understood.  As a consequences, many stent fractures have been observed in-vivo.  Below is a list of misconcepts that may contribute to the widely observed in-vivo fractures on Nitinol stents:

Zhigang Suo's picture

Texas Instruments will extend outsourcing model. Will more people lose jobs?

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News of Texas Instruments are intriguing. The world's largest maker of chips for mobile phones has just posted good fourth-quarter earnings. Despite the gains, the company said it will further increase efficiency and profitability by extending the model of outsourcing. This time it will include development of certain chips. The news on the Internet is rather terse. Will the company drastically reduce its research and development activities? Will many people lose jobs?

Nicolas Cordero's picture

Channel cracks in a hermetic coating consisting of organic and inorganic layers

Abstract: Flexible electronic devices often require hermetic coatings that can withstand applied strains. This paper calculates the critical strains for various configurations of channel cracks in a coating consisting of organic and inorganic layers. We show that the coating can sustain the largest strain when the organic layer is of some intermediate thicknesses.

Flexible electronics are promising for diverse applications, such as rollable displays, conformal sensors, and printable solar cells. These systems are thin, rugged, and lightweight. They can be manufactured at low costs, for example, by roll-to-roll printing. The development of flexible electronics has raised many issues concerning the mechanical behavior of materials. This paper examines a particular issue: channel cracks in hermetic coatings.

Electronic devices (e.g., organic light-emitting devices, OLEDs) often degrade when exposed to air. Developing hermetic coatings has been a significant challenge. Organic films are permeable to gases, and inorganic films inevitably contain processing flaws, so that neither by themselves are effective gas barriers. These considerations have led to the development of multilayer coatings consisting of alternating organic and inorganic films. To be used in flexible electronics, these coatings must also withstand applied strains without forming channel cracks...

Liu's picture

Positioning on nanometer scale: fighting friction

Most friction models for automatic control are targeted for the macro world, and are of questionable value for the motion control of the high precision positioing stages. We published a paper recently in Technishes Messen (TM) on a study of the friction behavior in the moving range of micrometers. It provides info for the development of friction models targeted for the motion control in high precision engineering.

The following is the abstract, and the full paper can be downloaded from

ABSTRACT Most friction models for automatic control are targeted for the macro world, and are of questionable value for the motion control of the nanopositioning and nanomeasuring machine (NPM) system. We present the frictional behaviour of some selected materials, coatings, lubricants, and bearings tested under running conditions similar to a NPM system. Continuous change of surface properties results in various friction characteristics, which substantiate the further development of tribological coatings, particularly for vacuum applications. We emphasize the system engineering approach in developing friction models, which combines fundamental knowledge of surface science, materials science, and its applications in design, construction and automatic control.

A method to analyze dislocation injection from sharp features in strained silicon structures

Stresses inevitably arise in a microelectronic device due to mismatch in coefficients of thermal expansion, mismatch in lattice constants, and growth of materials. Moreover, in the technology of strained silicon devices, stresses have been deliberately introduced to increase carrier mobility. A device usually contains sharp features like edges and corners, which may intensify stresses, inject dislocations into silicon, and fail the device.

Xiao Hu Liu's picture

Delamination in Patterned Films

When the dielectric constant of an insulator in an interconnect is reduced, mechanical properties are often compromised, giving rise to significant challenges in interconnect integration and reliability. Due to low adhesion of the dielectric an interfacial crack may occur during fabrication and testing. To understand the effect of interconnect structure, an interfacial fracture mechanics model has been analyzed for patterned films undergoing a typical thermal excursion during the integration process.

Zhigang Suo's picture

Saturated voids in interconnect lines due to thermal strains and electromigration

Zhen Zhang and Zhigang Suo (Harvard), Jun He (Intel)

Attached is a set of slides presented at ASME Congress, 10 November 2006. Thermal strains and electromigration can cause voids to grow in conductor lines on semiconductor chips. This long-standing failure mode is exacerbated by the recent introduction of low-permittivity dielectrics. We describe a method to calculate the volume of a saturated void (VSV), attained in a steady state when each point in a conductor line is in a state of hydrostatic pressure, and the gradient of the pressure along the conductor line balances the electron wind. We show that the VSV will either increase or decrease when the coefficient of thermal expansion of the dielectric increases, and will increase when the elastic modulus of the dielectric decreases. The VSV will also increase when porous dielectrics and ultrathin liners are used. At operation conditions, both thermal strains and electromigration make significant contributions to the VSV. We discuss these results in the context of interconnect design.

Jun He's picture

Statistics of Electromigration Lifetime Analyzed Using a Deterministic Transient Model

void due to electromitationThe electromigration lifetime is measured for a large number of copper lines encapsulated in an organosilicate glass low-permittivity dielectric. Three testing variables are used: the line length, the electric current density, and the temperature. A copper line fails if a void near the upstream via grows to a critical volume that blocks the electric current. The critical volume varies from line to line, depending on line-end designs and chance variations in the microstructure. However, the statistical distribution of the critical volume (DCV) is expected to be independent of the testing variables. By contrast, the distribution of the lifetime (DLT) strongly depends on the testing variables. For a void to grow a substantial volume, the diffusion process averages over many grains along the line. Consequently, the void volume as a function of time, V(t), is insensitive to chance variations in the microstructure. As a simplification, we assume that the function V(t) is deterministic, and calculate this function using a transient model. We use the function V(t) to convert the experimentally measured DLT to the DCV. The same DCV predicts the DLT under untested conditions.

Jeannette Jacques's picture

Environmental Effects on Crack Characteristics for OSG Interconnect Materials

Jeannette M. Jacques, Ting Y. Tsui, Andrew J. McKerrow, and Robert Kraft

To improve capacitance delay performance of the advanced back-end-of-line (BEOL) structures, low dielectric constant organosilicate glass (OSG) has emerged as the predominant choice for intermetal insulator. The material has a characteristic tensile residual stress and low fracture toughness. A potential failure mechanism for this class of low-k dielectric films is catastrophic fracture due to channel cracking. During fabrication, channel cracks can also form in a time-dependent manner due to exposure to a particular environmental condition, commonly known as stress-corrosion cracking. Within this work, the environmental impacts of pressure, ambient, temperature, solution pH, and solvents upon the channel cracking of OSG thin films are characterized. Storage under high vacuum conditions and exposure to flowing dry nitrogen gas can significantly lower crack propagation rates. Cracking rates experience little fluctuation as a function of solution pH; however, exposure to aqueous solutions can increase the growth rate by three orders of magnitude.

Michael H. Suo's picture

The Future of Ink

Since I know (or was told 20 minutes ago) that some of you are interested in large area electronics and displays, I thought I would throw something out for you.

Lately, e-book readers have been a new trend in the tech industry. The potential for it is incredible: hundreds of books in the palm of your hand, digitized content distribution, and infinite number of bookmarks, searchable text, hyperlinks between books; the list goes on. However, all these benefits come at a price; namely battery life and readability.

But what kind of display should they use? The average LCD screen has about 72 dpi (dots per inch), meaning that there are 72 pixels in every inch of screen. While that's passable for regular computer usage, anyone who's tried heavy reading will tell you that it's just not clear enough. By comparison, the average newspaper has over 300 dpi, and the average book has about 400 dpi.

Xiao-Yan Gong's picture

Pushing Mechanics to the Up Front of Design

When a mechanical engineer and a material scientist were asked for the root cause of an in-vivo fracture. Mechanical engineer pointed to the loading and the material scientist pointed to the processing. While they both are correct, they both also missed the real ROOT cause, the design.

It is very common that medical device design engineers are so focused on the device functionality that often the very basic mechanics is overlooked. Lack of knowledge on the in-vivo environment (Design Requirements) is another subject to blame. However, it is common that even technology driven companies have gaps between design department and duarability deparment. Up front design engineers do not necessarily keep up with the fast paces of material advances. On the other hand, downstram subject matter experts, device tesing teams or often the R&D departments are not informed of design changes before the design is fixed. The problem is worse often in industrial leaders than in start-ups, but the sympton is the same, problem found in animal studies and/or clinical trials before they reached industrial subject matter experts.

Xiao-Yan Gong's picture

Mechanics in Medical Implant Industry

The major challenge in medical implant industry is the knowledge about human body. Had we know the human body and its functions better, we can make better and reliable implants. Below are two examples that I have learned.

Let's start from stent, a small, lattice-shaped, metal tube that is inserted permanently into an artery. The stent opens the narrowed artery so that an adequate supply of blood can be restored. See this FDA site for further detail.

Stent has revolutionized the treatments for cardiovascular disease and the interventional system. However, stent fractures are commonly observed in-vivo in the past years and has become a concern for patient wellness and therefore a challenge/opportunity for mechanical engineering. Both the engineering and the medical care societies have to work together to solve this issue. It is very surprising that little publications are available to study the key issues such as artery deformation, motion, its mechanical properties and its variations among patient age, race, and other factors. As a result, current stents, even they have been proven to be lifesavers for many patients, they are not necessarily a satisfactory product for a mechanical engineer. We can not wait for the medical care society to give us the information because they often concern and focus on different issues than us. In addition, they can not work alone to come up with the necessary equipments. Therefore, we need proactive to interact and help each other to get what we want. The day we know our interventional system better is the day that we can make better stents because stents can only be as good as our knowledge to the interventional system.

Ting Tsui's picture

Constraint Effects on Thin Film Channel Cracking Behavior

Channel CrackOne of the most common forms of cohesive failure observed in brittle thin film subjected to a tensile residual stress is channel cracking, a fracture mode in which through-film cracks propagate in the film. The crack growth rate depends on intrinsic film properties, residual stress, the presence of reactive species in the environments, and the precise film stack.

Jun He's picture

Materials Impact on Interconnects Process Technology and Reliability

M.A. Hussein and Jun He (Intel Corporation)

IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing, vol. 18, No. 1, p.69-85, 2005

In this work, we explain how the manufacturing technology and reliability for advanced interconnects is impacted by the choice of metallization and interlayer dielectric (ILD) materials. The replacement of aluminum alloys by copper, as the metal of choice at the 130nm technology node, mandated notable changes in integration, metallization, and patterning technologies. Those changes directly impacted the reliability performance of the interconnect system. Although further improvement in interconnect performance is being pursued through utilizing progressively lower dielectric constant (low-k) ILD materials from one technology node to another, the inherent weak mechanical strength of low-k ILDs and the potential for degradation in the dielectric constant during processing, pose serious challenges to the implementation of such materials in high volume manufacturing. We will consider the cases of two ILD materials; carbon-doped silicon dioxide (CDO) and low-k spin-on-polymer to illustrate the impact of ILD choice on the process technology and reliability of copper interconnects. preprint pdf 2.49 MB

Jie-Hua Zhao's picture


Flip-chip plastic ball grid array (FC-PBGA) packages are widely used in high performance components. However, its die back is normally under tensile stress at low temperatures. This paper presents a probabilistic mechanics approach to predict the die failure rate in the FC-PBGA qualification process. The methodology consists of three parts:

Jie-Hua Zhao's picture

Microstructure-based Stress Modeling of Tin Whisker Growth

Jie-Hua Zhao, Peng Su, Min Ding, Sheila Chopin, and Paul S. Ho

A 3-dimensional finite element method (FEM) model considering the elasticity anisotropy, thermal expansion anisotropy and plasticity of β-Sn is established. The Voronoi diagrams are used to generate the geometric patterns of grains of the Sn coating on Cu leadframes. The crystal orientations are assigned to the Sn grains in the model using the x-ray diffraction (XRD) measurement data of the samples. The model is applied to the Sn-plated package leads under thermal cycling tests. The strain energy density (SED) is calculated for each grain. It is observed that the samples with higher calculated SED are more likely to have longer Sn whiskers and higher whisker density. The FEM model, combined with the XRD measurement of the Sn finish, can be used as an effective indicator of the Sn whisker propensity. This may expedite the qualification process significantly.

Joost Vlassak's picture

The Effect of Water Diffusion on the Adhesion of Organosilicate Glass Film Stacks

Ting Y. Tsui, Andrew J. McKerrow, and Joost J. Vlassak

Published in the Journal of The Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 54 (5), 887-903 (2006)

Abstract – Organosilicate glass (OSG) is a material that is used as a dielectric in advanced integrated circuits. It has a network structure similar to that of amorphous silica where a fraction of the Si-O bonds has been replaced by organic groups. It is well known from prior work that OSG is sensitive to subcritical crack growth as water molecules in the environment are transported to the crack tip and assist in rupturing Si-O bonds at the crack tip. In this study, we demonstrate that exposure of an OSG containing film stack to water prior to fracture results in degradation of the adhesion of the film stack. This degradation is the result of the diffusion of water into the film stack. We propose a quantitative model to predict adhesion degradation as a function of exposure time by coupling the results of independent subcritical crack growth measurements with diffusion concentration profiles. The model agrees well with experimental data and provides a novel method for measuring the water diffusion coefficient in film stacks that contain OSG. This study has important implications for the reliability of advanced integrated circuits.

Question about dislocation nucleation sites in strained silicon-on-insulator

Electronic active device is built on the strained silicon-on-insulator (sSOI), e.g. strained Si layer on oxide, which in turn is bonded on bulk silicon wafer. Because no misfit dislocation can exist in strained silicon layer any more, will the dislocation be generated during later processing and operation? If there are still lots of dislocations in the strained silicon layer, where do they come from? Is there any experimental work to discover the dislocation nucleation sites? I guess they will nucleate from the triple junctions of gate-sSOI-cap, because the stress is singular in the triple junction. But I am not sure. So I want to know something about the experimental observations.

Zhigang Suo's picture

Bring researchers from industries to iMechanica

Posts on mechanics in industries may attract considerable interest. The audience will be mechanicians working in industries, students planning industrial careers, and academics looking for industrial collaborations.


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