Effect of consolidation on adhesive and abrasive wear of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene
Total hip replacement (THR) is widely performed to recover hip joint functions lost by trauma or disease and to relieve pain. The major cause of failure in THR is the wear of the ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) component. The dominant wear mechanism in THR occurs through adhesion and abrasion. While poor consolidation of UHMWPE is known to increase the incidence of a different damage mode, delamination, which is the dominant wear mechanism in tibial inserts but uncommon in THR, the effect of consolidation on adhesive and abrasive wear of UHMWPE is not clear. In this study UHMWPE resin was subjected to hot isostatic pressing under a pressure of 138 MPa at different temperatures (210°C, 250°C, and 300°C) to achieve varying degrees of consolidation. The extent of consolidation was determined by optical microscopy using thin sections, and by scanning electron microscopy using cryofractured and solvent etched specimens. Wear behavior of the samples with varying degree of consolidation was determined using a bi-directional pin-on-disc machine simulating conditions in a hip joint. Increasing the processing temperature decreased the incidence of fusion defects and particle boundaries reflecting the powder flakes of the virgin resin, improving the consolidation. However, the bi-directional pin-on-disc wear rate did not change with the processing temperature, indicating that adhesive and abrasive wear is independent of the extent of consolidation in the range of parameters studied here.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 24, Issue 19, August 2003, Pages 3193–3199