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Model test for fabrication and separation of wear particles in hip implants
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Applied Materials Sciences.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Total hip replacement is a common orthopedic surgery today with a population with an increasing life expectancy and a more active lifestyle. Most implants have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer, however after 25 years one out of four implants has been revised. This means that the risk of a secondary surgery is high for young patients. In many cases the reason for revision is the formation of nanometer to micrometer sized particles that activate the immune system to resorb bone.


The implants today usually consist of a femoral head of a cobalt chromium alloy and a cup of polyethylene. Replacing these materials with a cobalt chromium alloy with a silicon nitride coating is hoped to generate less and smaller wear particles that will not activate the immune system to resorb bone. This study compares wear particles from three different silicon nitride coatings with wear particles from polyethylene and a cobalt chromium alloy. The first was a standard coating, the second had a layered structure and the third had a nitrogen content gradient.


This study uses a reciprocating motion with an alumina ball that slides against a sample of cobalt chromium with a silicon nitride coating in a serum solution to generate wear particles. The particles are then analyzed with a scanning electron microscope. In order to separate the particles from the serum solution two different methods were used. The first one used hydrochloric acid and the second used the enzyme proteinase K. Apart from the particles the wear tracks were investigated with vertical scanning interferometry and the adhesion was studied with scratch tests and light microscopy.


The results show that the wear particles do not differ between the coatings. All coatings show a high wear volume, which is believed to be a consequence of the material combination, movement pattern or surface roughness of the counter surface. In conclusion the test set up generates particles of a relevant size and both methods for serum digestion were successful.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 40 p.
UPTEC Q, ISSN 1401-5773 ; 13003
Keyword [en]
hip implant, model test, wear particles, silicon nitride
National Category
Medical Materials
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-202060OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-202060DiVA: diva2:630774
Educational program
Master Programme in Materials Engineering
Available from: 2013-06-28 Created: 2013-06-19 Last updated: 2013-06-28Bibliographically approved

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