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Universitas 21 Project


Spinal Grinding Research Collaboration


Project Describtion

Total Disc Replacements (TDRs) are medical devices used to alleviate spinal pain by replacing the intervertebral disc. There are issues with existing TDRs which the use of ceramic materials may overcome. The overall aim of the research is to investigate the wear behaviour of alumina on alumina bearing surfaces in cervical TDRs. In particular the effect surface roughness has on the wear rate of the bearing surface. The collaboration between the University of Birmingham and University College Dublin has been focused on how the desired surface roughness of the bearing surface can be achieved using grinding processes on the Mori Seiki NMV1500.

Example Ground Implant Component


Funding Programme

The project was funded by a Universitas 21 PhD Scholarship. Universitas 21 is the leading global network of research-intensive universities, working together to foster global citizenship and institutional innovation through research-inspired teaching and learning, student mobility, connecting our students and staff, and wider advocacy for internationalisation. Collectively, its 27 members enrol over 1.3 million students and employ over 220,000 staff and faculty. Their collective budgets amount to over US$25bn and they have an annual research grant income of over US$6.5bn.

Wear Testing of Implants


Naomi Green is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with 10 years experience in both industry and academia. She has skills in design, analysis and research in the fields of biomedical engineering, biomechanics, crashworthiness, and systems engineering. Naomi is currently studying for a PhD in biomedical engineering in the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Birmingham. Her PhD is funded by Scholarships from the School of Mechanical Engineering and the Institution of Mechanical Engineer. Her research focuses on the use of ceramic implants in Total Disc Replacements, in particular the wear behaviour of alumina on alumina bearing surfaces in cervical TDRs and the effect of surface roughness. Naomi has won a Universitas 21 PhD Scholarship to travel to and collaborate with University College Dublin on the production of the alumina bearing surfaces using grinding processes. On completion of her PhD Naomi plans to stay in academia and continue her research into the design of medical devices and their characterisation and performance. She is a member of the Bio-medical Engineering Research Group in the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Birmingham. The group aims to understand the physical properties of natural and synthetic materials and to use this understanding to design and develop medical devices.