Journal Article Effect of carbon ion implantation on the tribology of metal-on-metal bearings for artificial joints

Koseki, Hironobu  ,  Tomita, Masato  ,  Yonekura, Akihiko  ,  Higuchi, Takashi  ,  Sunagawa, Sinya  ,  Baba, Koumei  ,  Osaki, Makoto

12pp.4111 - 4116 , 2017-05-31 , Dove Medical Press Ltd.
Metal-on-metal (MoM) bearings have become popular due to a major advantage over metal-on-polymer bearings for total hip arthroplasty in that the larger femoral head and hydrodynamic lubrication of the former reduce the rate of wear. However, concerns remain regarding adverse reactions to metal debris including metallosis caused by metal wear generated at the taper-head interface and another modular junction. Our group has hypothesized that carbon ion implantation (CII) may improve metal wear properties. The purpose of this study was to investigate the wear properties and friction coefficients of CII surfaces with an aim to ultimately apply these surfaces to MoM bearings in artificial joints. CII was applied to cobalt-chromium-molybdenum (Co-Cr-Mo) alloy substrates by plasma source ion implantation. The substrates were characterized using scanning electron microscopy and a 3D measuring laser microscope. Sliding contact tests were performed with a simple geometry pin-on-plate wear tester at a load of 2.5 N, a calculated contact pressure of 38.5 MPa (max: 57.8 MPa), a reciprocating velocity of 30 mm/s, a stroke length of 60 mm, and a reciprocating cycle count of 172,800 cycles. The surfaces of the CII substrates were generally featureless with a smooth surface topography at the same level as untreated Co-Cr-Mo alloy. Compared to the untreated Co-Cr-Mo alloy, the CII-treated bearings had lower friction coefficients, higher resistance to catastrophic damage, and prevented the adhesion of wear debris. The results of this study suggest that the CII surface stabilizes the wear status due to the low friction coefficient and low infiltration of partner materials, and these properties also prevent the adhesion of wear debris and inhibit excessive wear. Carbon is considered to be biologically inert; therefore, CII is anticipated to be applicable to the bearing surfaces of MoM prostheses.

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