Date of Award


Degree Type



Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Davis, Brian

Subject Headings

Artificial knee, Prosthesis -- Design and construction, Energy storage, Biomedical Engineering


One significant drawback of the commercial passive and microprocessored prosthetic devices, the inability of delivering positive energy when needed, is due to the absence of the knee flexion during stance phase. Moreover, consequences such as circumduction and disturbed gait pattern take place due to the improper energy flow at the knee and the absence of the positive energy delivery during the swing phase. Current generation powered design has solved these problems by delivering the needed energy with heavy battery demanding motors, which increase the mass of the device significantly. Hence, the gait quality of transfemoral amputees has not improved significantly in the last 50 years due to the inefficient energy flow distribution causing the patient to hike his/her pelvis, which leads to back pain in the long run. In this context, state-of-art prosthetics technology is trending toward creating energy regenerative devices, which are able to harvest/ return energy during ambulation by a spring mechanism, since a spring not only permits significant power demand reduction but also provides high power-to-weight ratio. This study will examine the sagittal plane knee moment versus knee flexion angle properties robotically, clinically and theoretically to explore the functional stiffness of a healthy knee as well as a prosthetic knee during the energy return and harvest phases of gait. With this intention, a prosthetic knee test method will be developed for investigating the torque-angle properties of the knee by iteratively modifying the hip trajectory until achieving the closest to healthy knee biomechanics by a 3-Degree of Freedom (DOF) Simulator. This research reveals that constant spring stiffness is suboptimal to varying gait requirements for different types of activity, due to the variability of the power requirements of the knee caused by the passive, viscous and elastic characteristics and the activation dependent properties of the muscles. Exploring this variation is crucial for the design of trans