Contact Fatigue Failure of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Bearing Components of Knee Prostheses

[+] Author and Article Information
F. E. Kennedy, J. H. Currier, J. L. Duda, D. P. Gestwick, J. P. Collier, B. H. Currier

Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755

S. Plumet, M-C. Dubourg

Labo. de Mécanique des Contacts, INSA de Lyon, 69621 Villeurbanne, France

J. Tribol 122(1), 332-339 (Jun 30, 1999) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.555364 History: Received March 01, 1999; Revised June 30, 1999
Copyright © 2000 by ASME
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Diagram of femoral and tibial components of a typical condylar-type total knee prosthesis, (a) Side view. (b) Front view.
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Load and flexion angle variations in knee during a typical walk cycle (from ISO, 1996)
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(a) Retrieved UHMWPE tibial bearing which successfully served the patient with little visible surface damage. (b) Retrieved tibial bearing which experienced catastrophic surface damage in the form of cracking and delamination within 8 years of service.
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FTIR-measured oxidation level (ketone peak absorbance level/thickness in mm) versus depth (microns) for a never-implanted polyethylene tibial component 8 years after gamma sterilization in air
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Thin cross-section of tibial component tested in knee simulator for 150,000 cycles at a maximum normal load of 1225 N (275 lb.) In distilled water. It is clear that fatigue cracks have initiated at a depth of about 2 mm subsurface but have not yet propagated to the surface.
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SEM micrograph of surface of rolling/sliding specimen (type SA1) after 110,000 cycles at a normal load of 630 N in distilled water
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Cross-section of UHMWPE disk specimen (type SA3) which had been tested for 18,000 rolling/sliding cycles at a normal load of 900 N in distilled water. Also shown are the analytically determined contact length (instantaneous) and depth of maximum shear stress.
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FTIR-measured oxidation level (ketone peak level/thickness in millimeters) versus depth (millimeters) for UHMWPE specimens that had been aged in one atmosphere of oxygen at 80°C for 17 days after gamma sterilization in air (SA1)
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FTIR-measured oxidation level (ketone peak level/thickness millimeters) versus depth (millimeters) for disk specimens that had been aged in three atmospheres of oxygen at 70°C for 17 days after gamma sterilization in air (SA3)
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Geometric model of tibial bearing for stress analysis, showing boundary conditions
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Distribution of von Mises equivalent stress beneath contact with five-layer model of a particular sterilized and oxidized tibial bearing for a given normal load (1000 N), bearing thickness (8.0 mm), radii of curvature (Rx1=60 mm, Rx2=130 mm), and for a semi-bent flexural position of the knee



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