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The University of Southampton

Research project: Nanowear and Nanofretting of Biomedical Materials

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This study aims to reproduce the damage occuring to biomedical materials due to micromotion between othopaedic components in-vivo.

Tribocorrosion plays a significant role in the long-term performance and failure of implantable metallic devices. Tribocorrosion damage has been frequently noted in disc replacement surgery, bone plates, the cement stem interface of cement hip replacement stems and in particular the taper interfaces of hip replacements have resulted in patient sensitivity reactions to the wear debris and joint failure.

The damage results from interactions between contacting metallic and metal / non-metal interfaces at the nanoscale. Micromotion between the asperities of the contacting surfaces results in deformation and destruction of the interlayer leading to wear of the surfaces, while at the same time depassivating and exposing nascent metallic surfaces to corrosive attack. This type of tribocorrosion can lead to significantly increased levels of material loss and damage. It is through tribocorrosive processes that we see comparatively soft materials such as Ti alloys damaging harder alloys such as CoCrMo.

The project aims are to establish a technique capable of bench marking the extent of tribocorrosion damage which would occur between biomedical material couples.

Damage to a CoCrMo femoral stem surface due to micromotion at the cement stem interface
CoCrMo femoral stem surface damage
Wear scars generated after 16000 cycles at 5Hz with a 5um sliding distance
Wear Scars on a CoCrMo Alloy

Related research groups

national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)
Femoral stem showing surface damage due to micromotion at the cement stem interface
Femoral stem showing surface damage
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