The work shows correct procedures needed in order to gather reliable data from measurement of displacements versus axial load in a laboratory mounting of the Ilizarov external fixator. The mechanism of settling after load cycling is investigated. Detension under load is a major problem of wires. By means of vibration frequency measurements, tests on single wire allow determination of reduction in wire tension due to transverse loading: it is found that, almost independently from the amount of clamp tightening, the tension reaches a lower limit related only to the transverse load and not related to pretension. It is shown that, for higher clamp tightening torques, wire detension must be attributed to permanent plastic deformation of the wires; moreover, it is shown that the unavoidable errors in the spacing of the tensioned wires lead to marked decrease of their stiffness under transverse load.

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