Effects of Counterface Roughness and Conformity on the Tribological Performance of Crosslinked and Non-crosslinked Medical-Grade Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene

Abstract

The tribological behavior of crosslinked ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) was compared to that of non-crosslinked UHMWPE, used as control sample. A reciprocating pin-on-disk tribometer was used to determine the effects of countersurface roughness and conformity on wear mechanisms occurring during the initial stage of sliding. Pin samples of two different radii of curvature were slid against medical-grade Co-Cr alloy disks with surface roughness ranging from 0.005 to 0.04 μm in a lubricant of bovine serum. Normal loads were chosen to provide physiological contact stresses. The focus of this study was on the dependence of early wear mechanisms on surface roughness and conformity. Although a correlation between coefficient of friction data and dominant wear mechanisms was not observed, different wear mechanisms were found between control and crosslinked UHMWPE. The results of this study provide insight into the differences of the initial wear behavior of noncrosslinked and crosslinked UHMWPE used in total joint replacements.

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Correspondence to A. D. Chawan.

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Chawan, A.D., Chakravartula, A.M., Zhou, J. et al. Effects of Counterface Roughness and Conformity on the Tribological Performance of Crosslinked and Non-crosslinked Medical-Grade Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene. MRS Online Proceedings Library 724, N5.10 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-724-N5.10

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