Samantha Kwan

Understanding Fatigue Behavior in UH polyethylene for Total Joint Replacements

TJRs are commonplace in the U.S. with over one million first-time knee and hip implant
surgeries performed per year. Approximately 12% of those TJRs will require revision surgery, and a leading cause of revision surgeries is fatigue-induced wear of the plastic UH TJR component. This research aims to determine how various microstructural and chemical properties of clinically relevant formulations of UH effect initiation and propagation of cracks. Understanding structure/property/processing relationships in clinical formulations of UH can further inform designs to better suit patient needs, ultimately resulting in better patient outcomes. I will perform experiments to determine the effect of radiation dose on fatigue properties in a specific clinical formulation of UH called GUR 1020. Specifically, I will learn to prepare UH samples for mechanical property testing, operate optical and scanning electron microscopes to observe crack growth and fracture surfaces, and perform standard mechanical property tests on a load frame.

Message to Sponsor

To the donors of the SURF-SMART program at UC Berkeley: Thank you so much for your generous contributions to the SURF-SMART program! I cannot adequately convey how much this program has impacted my life, but I will do my best. This program helped me find a fantastic mentor who helped me in more aspects than just my career in materials science and bioengineering, and without her guidance, I would be in a very different place than I am now. This program taught me that I do genuinely enjoy the research process, working in a scientific lab, and working in academia, and has helped direct me towards future career goals and plans, both of which I was much more unsure of before starting this program. I've met incredible people and have had incredible experiences, gained confidence and myself, and have set myself for a well-prepared entry into the workforce through this program, and none of that would have been possible without your contributions. Thank you again, and Go Bears!!!
  • Major: Bioengineering, Materials Science & Engineering
  • Sponsor: Johnson Fund
  • Mentor: Bethany Smith