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Title: Abrasion-corrosion of cast CoCrMo in simulated hip joint environments
Author: Sun, Dan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2668 5669
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2009
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Metal-on-metal (MoM) hip joint replacements have been increasingly used for younger and more active patients in recent years due to their improved wear performance compared to conventional metal-on-polymer bearings. MoM bearings operate at body temperature within a corrosive joint environment and therefore are inevitably being subjected to wear and corrosion as well as the combined action of tribo-corrosion. Issues such as metal sensitivity/metallosis associated with high levels of metal ion release triggered by the wear and corrosion products remain critical concerns. During the past few decades, significant research has been conducted into understanding the wear/lubrication mechanisms within the MoM hip joints in order to improve their performance and thereby prolonging their life. However, not much attention has been given to the combined effect of wear and corrosion of such devices in the hip joint environment, in addition, the role of third body particles and the effects of proteins have not been well understood. In this work, a systemic approach is presented for the first time for the mapping of abrasion and tribo-corrosion performance of a cast CoCrMo (F75) in simulated hip joint environments. The effects of third body particles have been studied in the MoM context using 4 μm SiC, 1 μm and 300 nm Al2O3, as well as sub-micron BaSO4. Modified tribo-testers (micro-abrasion, nanoindenter/scratching) incorporating a novel electrochemical cell have been used to monitor the abrasion-corrosion behaviour of the alloy in situ. The effects of solution chemistry, abrasives size / concentration and presence of proteins on the wear / corrosion level, wear-corrosion mechanisms, and the depassivation/repassivation kinetics of the CoCrMo have been explored. A variety of surface and sub-surface characterization techniques have been employed to identify the microstructual wear mechanism interactions. Results show that the change of protein concentration (0, 25% and 50% bovine serum) and pH (pH 7.4 and pH 4.0) of the test solutions can significantly influence the protein adsorption behaviour, which subsequently influence the wear rates (synergy), wear mechanisms as well as the wear-induced corrosion currents of the CoCrMo. For abrasion-corrosion tests, reducing abrasive size from 4 μm to 300 nm and/or abrasive volume concentration from 0.238 vol% to 0.006 vol% results in different abrasion-corrosion wear mechanisms (rolling or grooving abrasion) and the average wear-induced corrosion currents show a linear correlation with wear rates for 4 μm and 1 μm abrasives. For low volume concentration (< 0.03 vol%) slurries containing bovine serum, organo-metallic conglomerates have been found within the wear scars. These conglomerates help separate the surfaces, impose less damage to the surface passive film and polish the wear scars through a chemical mechanical polishing mechanism. In addition, tribo-corrosion tests at micro-/nano- scales reveal the effects of single abrasive particle on the surface/sub-surface microstructual change. This investigation has revealed the nanoscale wear mechanisms that generate nanoscale wear debris, the mechanical mixing of the surface nanostructure with adsorbed denatured protein and also the slip/dislocation systems that are present near and on abraded surfaces that are likely to disrupt the surface passive films. The findings give a better understanding of the evolution of the sub-surface nanocrystalline structures and tribo-layers formation seen for the retrieved implants. This near surface nanostructure layer and phase transformation might offer better wear resistance through these inherent self-protecting mechanisms (i.e. increased hardness); conversely, it may become the precursors to debris ejection and enhanced ion-release into the CoCrMo joints. This work established an experimental technique that gives greater understanding of the tribocorrosion behaviour of cast CoCrMo in simulated hip joint environments. In particular, the roles of third body abrasive particles and proteins have been addressed, which are relevant to clinical applications. The material multi-scale wear mechanisms as well as the evolution of the surface / subsurface microstructures and tribo-layers have been elucidated, which provide new insights into the in vivo wear mechanisms of CoCrMo. The findings of this study may provide some important indications for improved MoM joint materials, design, manufacture and evaluation.
Supervisor: Wood, Robert ; Wharton, Julian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RD Surgery ; TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General) ; QH301 Biology