Facilities & Equipment


The Thayer School orthopaedic research laboratory is physically divided into three rooms of approximately equal size, totaling nearly 3,000 square feet. An additional off-site, climate controlled facility houses the implant library. One room houses our core laboratory team and is dedicated to education and gross evaluation of devices. Polycom VHX videoconference capabilities, a networked large depth of field microscope, meeting space and spectroscopy equipment are also housed here. A second room is dedicated to implant processing, artificial aging, metrology, and mechanical testing. The final room is dedicated to biomaterial processing and is home to chemical and structural analysis equipment, as well as tribological testing devices.

The orthopedic biomaterials laboratory includes comprehensive facilities for preparation, testing and analysis of tribological specimens. It includes a 6-station AMTI Ortho-POD Pin-on-disk tester, and a 6-station Rolling-sliding tribotester. Both of these testing machines are able to be modified to achieve desired articulation geometries and conditions.

The laboratory has compression molding equipment (50-ton capacity) capable of making custom formulations and geometries of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). It also houses machining equipment and analytical equipment dedicated to biomaterials specimens (detailed below). This laboratory also houses a Zeiss Contura G2 CMM for high resolution metrology of specimens.

The orthopedic retrieval laboratory is on the same floor of Thayer School as the biomaterials laboratory and the two are closely integrated. This laboratory receives, documents, and analyzes all retrieved orthopaedic devices sent to the Dartmouth Biomedical Engineering Center. This laboratory includes imaging equipment for device and sample documentation at magnifications to 1000x and equipment for nanometer-scale surface profilometry.

Most joint arthroplasty retrievals with current-generation bearings (ceramic-on-ceramic, metal-on-metal, highly cross-linked UHMWPE) are housed in this laboratory space; the remainder of the archive of 15,000 retrieved components are housed in a climate-controlled storage facility approximately 3 miles from the laboratory in Wilder, VT. Approved laboratory personnel have 24 hour-per-day access.

Microscopy and Metrology

Nikon dissecting microscope

Keyence VHX-1000 Large Depth of Field Microscope with three-dimensional scanning capability.

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy:

  • Thermo Nicolet iN 10 Infrared Microscope
  • Perkin Elmer AutoImage Microscope
  • Perkin Elmer Spectrum 100
  • Perkin Elmer Spectrum BX
  • H-ATR Cell

Zygo NewView 7300 White Light Interferometer for surface and profile analysis

Zeiss Contura G2 Bridge CMM with Activ scanning head

PCB sound, vibration, and impact analysis equipment

Materials Testing

Load Frames

  • Instron 6800 electronic single load frame equipped with video extensometer
  • Instron 5544 electronic load frame equipped with video extensometer
  • Instron 8800 servo-hydraulic load frame
  • Bose Electroforce load frame
  • Bluehill and WaveMatrix Software Suites for dynamic and pseudo-static testing/analysis
  • Small Punch Test equipment and fixtures

Differential Scanning Calorimetry: TA Instruments Q2000 with RCS-80 and autosampler

Gravimetric gel swell apparatus for ASTM F2214 testing of polymer cross-link density

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis:  TA Instruments Q700 DMA with Liquid N2 chiller


AMTI Ortho-POD 6 Station Pin on Disk Tester

6 Station Rolling-sliding tribotester

Single station pin on flat fretting tester

Shoulder motion simulator

Materials Preparation

Resin Embedding Equipment

Diamond and carbide sectioning saws

10 Artificial Aging Set-ups

2 Reichert-Jung Microtome

1 Leica Polycut Microtome

Shared Resources

Dartmouth College prides itself on interdepartmental collaboration and the open nature of our laboratory environment. DBEC researchers often work with other laboratories on campus and at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center to take advantage of state of the art equipment. This includes full chemical analysis facilities, surgical suites, imaging facilities, tissue culture and biotech facilities. A few examples of shared equipment includes:

  • Bruker EMX Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectrometer
  • Trace Elements Analysis Laboratory
    • Agilent 8800 ICP-MS
    • Agilent 7700cx ICP-MS
    • Element 2 ICP-MS
  • GE eXplore Locus micro-CT
  • X Ray Diffraction: Siemens D-5000 Diffractometer
  • On Site Tescan Vega-3 SEM with EDAX Microanalysis system
  • On Campus Core Imaging Center – Laboratory Staff are fully trained:
    • FEI Company Tecnai F20 FEG TEM
    • FEI Company, XL-30 ESEM-FEG (field emission gun environmental scanning electron microscope).
    • Resolution: 2nm @ 30KV in high vacuum or 10mBar water vapor, 5 nm @1 KV
    • Gaseous SE and BSE detectors for low vacuum imaging
    • Viewing of uncoated samples due to charge neutralization in low vacuum mode
    • X-ray microanalysis with Edax light element Si(Li) detector
    • WITEC CRM200 Confocal Raman Microscope
    • Hysitron Ubi-1 Scanning Quasi-static Nanoindenter
    • Veeco/Digital Instruments Scanning Probe Microscope
  • Complete metallurgy laboratory including preparation equipment and imaging devices
  • Additional mechanical load frames including small scale (Bose Electroforce) to large scale (MTS Hydraulic)
  • Complete Machine Shop and Fabrication Facilities
    • Manual and CNC mills and lathes
    • Morgan Injection Molding Presses, Model G 100T, 4 oz, 20 Ton Capacity
    • MK Technology System 1 Vacuum chamber for urethane/silicone casting
    • Memmert urethane curing ovens
    • Design and reverse engineering
    • Laser Scanner, hand-held Creaform EXA-scan
    • Laser Scanner, Roland Picza model LPX-250
    • Immersion Microscribe Digitizer
    • Sensable Freeform Phantom digital sculpting stylus and software
    • Rapid Prototyping Fused Deposition Modeler, Stratasys Titan
    • Rapid Prototyping Fused Deposition Modeler, Stratasys Prodigy Plus
    • ZCorp ZPrinter 650 3D Printer
    • Cad/Cam software and support
    • SolidWorks
    • TurboCAM