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Keywords:

  • ceramic on ceramic;
  • hip replacement;
  • stripe wear;
  • microseparation;
  • edge loading

Abstract

Further development of ceramic materials for total hip replacement aim to increase fracture toughness and further reduce the incidence of bearing fracture. Edge loading due to translational mal positioning (microseparation) has replicated stripe wear, wear rates, and bimodal wear debris observed on retrievals. This method has replicated the fracture of early zirconia ceramic-on-ceramic bearings. This has shown the necessity of introducing microseparation conditions to the gait cycle when assessing the tribological performance of new hip replacement bearings. Two novel ceramic matrix composite materials, zirconia-toughened alumina (ZTA) and alumina-toughened zirconia (ATZ), were developed by Mathys Orthopädie GmbH. In this study, ATZ-on-ATZ and ZTA-on-ZTA bearing combinations were tested and compared with alumina-on-alumina (Al2O3-on-Al2O3) bearings under adverse microseparation and edge loading conditions using the Leeds II physiological anatomical hip joint simulator. The wear rate (±95% confidence limit) of ZTA-on-ZTA was 0.14 ± 0.10 mm3/million cycles and that of ATZ-on-ATZ was 0.06 ± 0.004 mm3/million cycles compared with a wear rate of 0.74 ± 1.73 mm3/million cycles for Al2O3-on-Al2O3 bearings. Stripe wear was evident on all bearing combinations; however, the stripe formed on the ATZ and ZTA femoral heads was thinner and shallower that that formed on the Al2O3 heads. Posttest phase composition measurements for both ATZ and ZTA materials showed no significant change in the monoclinic zirconia content. ATZ-on-ATZ and ZTA-on-ZTA showed superior wear resistance properties when compared with Al2O3-on-Al2O3 under adverse edge loading conditions. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 101B: 1456–1462, 2013.