This study describes a computational method for predicting the mechanical response of any configuration of the Ilizarov external fixation system. Mechanical testing of each of the individual components (ring, threaded rod, and wire) of the Ilizarov system was used to determine the stiffness of each component. Finite element (FE) analysis was then used to model each of the individual components. Each model was tuned to match the mechanical testing. A modular FE modelling system, using a master input file, was then developed where the tuned FE models of the individual components could be generated, positioned, and interconnected to replicate a range of fixator configurations. The results showed that the stiffness predications from the FE modelling of the fixator configurations were consistently 10 per cent higher than the stiffness values obtained from the mechanical testing. The FE modelling system can be used to predict the characteristic response of the fixator configurations and clearly shows the relative changes in that response for variations in the number of components used.
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