Fast detection of crack initiation in bone using acoustic NDT medical sensor


Currently the only way to examine bone fracture is to take patient to hospital, where expensive and large equipment are employed such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) scan. In this paper, a Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) device has been proposed, that can be employed on the patients who have experienced bone fracture; where patients are located in places that are not necessarily close to a hospital or equipped with other forms of aids.

This device can be used before any forms of fractural symptoms appear and when it is difficult to understand whether the bone has been broken or not. Understanding this fact can help patients to avoid any unnecessary movement that may result in further damage to the fracture. This is particularly helpful when such fracture happens near the spinal cord or on the sensitive bones of a patient that could result in paralysis and irreversible damage.

This device functions by initially radiating an Acoustic Emission (AE) to the area of interest, following which an investigation can be carried out on the reflected signal at the desired location, indicating whether the assessed bone is fractured and in the case of a broken bone; it warns the user to be cautious. Dimensions of this device are estimated to be about 5x5x3 cm ±0.5cm. The proposed portable device is small, easy to use and can be employed in road accidents, villages and locations where access to health centres are limited. Unlike similar devices, this medical sensor does not contain any form of imaging and it is purely a low-cost, NDT assessment of crack initiation in bone.