The thermal conductivity of prosthetic sockets and liners

Prosthet Orthot Int. 2007 Sep;31(3):292-9. doi: 10.1080/03093640601042554.


Elevated stump skin temperatures and the accompanying thermal discomfort are side effects of prosthesis use that may reduce amputee quality of life, particularly in hot or humid surroundings. Lower skin temperatures might be achieved through more effective heat transfer in the prosthesis, a process governed in part by the thermal conductivity of the sock, liner, and socket layers. To assess the thermodynamic properties of currently available components, an instrument capable of measuring the heat flux across a regulated temperature differential was developed. Experimental results show that the thermal conductivity ranged from 0.085 - 0.266 W/m x K for liner materials and from 0.148 - 0.150 W/m x K for socket materials. The results of this study demonstrate that the prescription of typical multi-layer prostheses constructed with the higher thermal conductivity materials might reduce temperature-related discomfort in patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amputees
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing
  • Prostheses and Implants*
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Skin Temperature
  • Thermal Conductivity