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I'm working on a university project involving the design of a metal implant. We're considering using a shape memory alloy, nitinol, for an intramedullary nail that changes shape with temperature. The idea is that it should expand in the body when implanted to increase friction and thus stabilisation but what happens if the person goes to a cold place, isn't homoeostasis supposed to keep the body at 37 degrees celsius, how much would the temperature of the implant change according to weather when inside the body. Thanks in advance.

  • Well frostbite happens at about freezing – paparazzo Feb 25 '17 at 18:27
  • I expect the answer would depend on a lot on where this implant will be. A finger or toe implant is going to experience much wider temperature fluctuations than somewhere in the torso. – Carey Gregory Feb 25 '17 at 21:17
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Normal body temperature varies from around 36ºC (sometimes perhaps a little less, even) to around 37.5ºC... Inside the body itself, you might have a higher temperature by around 0.5ºC

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  • yh but what about the implant, will the implant get to like 10C if the weather is -20C or something. And if yes, how will that affect the surrounding tissue. – J. Doe Feb 25 '17 at 21:17
  • @J.Doe 10C is extreme hypothermia, probably not survivable if the implant is anywhere in the core of the body. I wouldn't worry about implants if the wearer gets that cold. – Carey Gregory Feb 25 '17 at 21:19
  • @CareyGregory the implant is in the medullar canal of the tibia. what if i purposely wanted to bring the temperature of the implant to around 10C. The idea is that if the temperature of the implant reduces, it will contract and become easier to pull out during surgery. Would placing an ice pack on the leg suffice to reduce the temperature of the implant, or is there another way of cooling it? thanks – J. Doe Feb 25 '17 at 21:42
  • Dude, physics. Most likely the implant will never experience a significant variation of temperature, precisely because it will be in the medullary canal, isolated from the outside. Heat will be maintained more-or-less stable by conduction from the surrounding tissue. – Gregorio Litenstein Feb 25 '17 at 21:48
  • @GregorioLitenstein alright so there's no way of cooling the implant by 10 degrees without damaging surrounding tissue before an operation to remove it? I'm asking because it was suggested by a research paper. intechopen.com/books/… – J. Doe Feb 25 '17 at 21:52

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