Single polymer composites : an innovative solution for lower limb prosthetic sockets

Nagarajan, Yogeshvaran R. and Farukh, Farukh and Buis, Arjan and Kandan, Karthikeyan (2024) Single polymer composites : an innovative solution for lower limb prosthetic sockets. Prosthesis, 6 (3). pp. 457-477. ISSN 2673-1592 (

[thumbnail of Nagarajan-etal-Prosthesis-2024-Single-polymer-composites-an-innovative-solution]
Text. Filename: Nagarajan-etal-Prosthesis-2024-Single-polymer-composites-an-innovative-solution.pdf
Final Published Version
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 logo

Download (5MB)| Preview


The demand for affordable prostheses, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), is significant. Currently, the majority of prosthetic sockets are manufactured using monolithic thermoplastic polymers such as PP (polypropylene), which lack durability, strength, and exhibit creep. Alternatively, they are reinforced with consumptive thermoset resin and expensive composite fillers such as carbon, glass, or Kevlar fibres. However, there are unmet needs that amputees face in obtaining affordable prosthetic sockets, demanding a solution. This study utilises self-reinforced PET (polyethylene terephthalate), an affordable and sustainable composite material, to produce custom-made sockets. Advancing the development of a unique socket manufacturing technique employing a reusable vacuum bag and a purpose-built curing oven, we tested fabricated sockets for maximum strength. Subsequently, a prosthetic device was created and assessed for its performance during ambulation. The mechanical and structural strength of PET materials for sockets reached a maximum strength of 132 MPa and 5686 N. Findings indicate that the material has the potential to serve as a viable substitute for manufacturing functional sockets. Additionally, TOPSIS analysis was conducted to compare the performance index of sockets, considering decision criteria such as material cost, socket weight, and strength. The results showed that PET sockets outperformed other materials in affordability, durability, and strength. The methodology successfully fabricated complex-shaped patient sockets in under two hours. Additionally, walking tests demonstrated that amputees could perform daily activities without interruptions. This research makes significant progress towards realising affordable prostheses for LMICs, aiming to provide patient-specific affordable prostheses tailored for LMICs.