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The Biomechanical Effect of Loading Speed on Metal-on-UHMWPE Contact Mechanics

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      Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is a material commonly used in total hip and knee joint replacements. Numerous studies have assessed the effect of its viscoelastic properties on phenomena such as creep, stress relaxation, and tensile stress. However, these investigations either use the complex 3D geometries of total hip and knee replacements or UHMWPE test objects on their own. No studies have directly measured the effect of vertical load application speed on the contact mechanics of a metal sphere indenting UHMWPE. To this end, a metal ball was used to apply vertical force to a series of UHMWPE flat plate specimens over a wide range of loading speeds, namely, 1, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, and 120 mm/min. Pressure sensitive Fujifilm was placed at the interface to measure contact area. Experimental results showed that maximum contact force ranged from 3596 to 4520 N and was logarithmically related (R 2=0.96) to loading speed. Average contact area ranged from 76.5 to 79.9 mm 2 and was linearly related (R 2=0.56) to loading speed. Average contact stress ranged from 45.1 to 58.2 MPa and was logarithmically related (R 2=0.95) to loading speed. All UHMWPE specimens displayed a circular area of permanent surface damage, which did not disappear with time. This study has practical implications for understanding the contact mechanics of hip and knee replacements for a variety of activities of daily living.

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      The influence of design, materials and kinematics on the in vitro wear of total knee replacements.

      Debris-induced osteolysis due to surface wear of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) bearings is a potential long-term failure mechanism of total knee replacements (TKR). This study investigated the effect of prosthesis design, kinematics and bearing material on the wear of UHMWPE bearings using a physiological knee simulator. The use of a curved fixed bearing design with stabilised polyethylene bearings reduced wear in comparison to more flat-on-flat components which were sterilised by gamma irradiation in air. Medium levels of crosslinking further improved the wear resistance of fixed bearing TKR due to resistance to strain softening when subjected to multidirectional motion at the femoral-insert articulating interface. Backside motion was shown to be a contributing factor to the overall rate of UHMWPE wear in fixed bearing components. Wear of fixed bearing prostheses was reduced significantly when anterior-posterior displacement and internal-external rotation kinematics were reduced due to decreased cross shear on the articulating surface and a reduction in AP displacement. Rotating platform mobile bearing prostheses exhibited reduced wear rates in comparison to fixed bearing components in these simulator studies due to redistribution of knee motion to two articulating interfaces with more linear motions at each interface. This was observed in two rotating platform designs with different UHMWPE bearing materials. In knee simulator studies, wear of TKR bearings was dependent on kinematics at the articulating surfaces and the prosthesis design, as well as the type of material.
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        Tibiofemoral contact stress and stress distribution evaluation of total knee arthroplasties.

        The Fuji film (Itochu, Los Angeles, CA) area analysis technique demonstrates that a more accurate assessment of tibiofemoral contact stresses is possible when the film is used at 37 degrees C and at the upper end of its sensitivity range (in this case, a 2,000-N load). An AMK with a regular and Hylamer-M insert (DePuy, Warsaw, IN), an MG II (Zimmer, Warsaw, IN), an Omnifit (Osteonics, Allendale, NJ), an Ortholoc III (Dow Corning Wright, Midland, MI), a PCA II (Howmedica, Rutherford, NJ), and a PFC (Johnson & Johnson Orthopaedics, Raynham, MA) had average contact stresses that varied only 12% at 60 degrees flexion. At 0 degrees, 15 degrees and 60 degrees flexion, stresses ranged from 13 to 25 MPa. Contact area distribution ratios, which were smaller at 37 degrees C than at 24 degrees C, provide a quantitative means of grouping implants according to the shape of the tibiofemoral contact area. The Omnifit, MG II, PCA II, and PFC had small ratios (symmetric areas). The AMK and Ortholoc III had large ratios (asymmetric contact areas). If the impression is reflective of wear, it would be expected to be focal in knees with small ratios and contact areas, and uniform in knees with large ratios and contact areas, whereas large ratios and small areas would imply a linear wear pattern. Calibrated electrical resistance contact stress measurements indicated that the Fuji film measurements underestimated the magnitude of contact stresses. They also provided a means of quantifying the rate of area increase during initial loading of the knees, with the highest area increase noted for the knee with the roughest insert (Ortholoc III) and the lowest area increase for the knee with the smoothest insert (PCA II).
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          Loss in mechanical contact of cementless acetabular prostheses due to post-operative weight bearing: a biomechanical model.

          The primary stability of cementless acetabular components is a prerequisite for their clinical success. The target of the present study was to analyse possible effects of post-operative joint loading on the initial mechanical stability of a press-fitted acetabular prosthesis. For this purpose, a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic bone with acetabular reconstruction was set-up. The analysis included two steps: (1) simulation of the prosthesis press-fit implantation and (2) simulation of the instant of peak resultant hip loading during the one-legged stance. The difference between the contact pressures at the bone/implant interface, at the end of the second step and those at the end of the first step was calculated and assumed as an index of variation in mechanical contact due to post-operative weight bearing. The results show that, due to hip loading, contact pressures given by press-fit increase in the postero-superior acetabular region but decrease in the antero-inferior acetabular region. The calculated area in which the contact pressures decrease extend to about 30% of the total contact surface. These results imply that post-operative joint loading significantly reduces the mechanical stability given by press-fit. The decrease in contact pressures at the bone/implant interface may result in a lack of osteointegration, possibly hindering the implant secondary stability. It may also create a route for wear debris, possibly favouring periprosthetic osteolysis, which may lead to further loss in contact and clinical failure of the implant due to loosening.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5B-2K3
            [2 ]Martin Orthopaedic Biomechanics Lab, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5B-1W8
            [3 ]Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5S-1A8
            Author notes
            [* ]Address correspondence to this author at the Biomechanics Lab – St. Michael’s Hospital, Li Ka Shing Building (West Basement, B116), 209 Victoria St., Toronto, ON, Canada, M5B-1W8; Tel: 1-416-953-5328; Fax: 1-416-359-1601; E-mail: zderor@
            Open Biomed Eng J
            Open Biomed Eng J
            The Open Biomedical Engineering Journal
            Bentham Open
            16 May 2014
            : 8
            : 28-34
            4041085 TOBEJ-8-28 10.2174/1874120701408010028
            © Zdero et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

            This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.


            Biomedical engineering

            biomechanics, contact mechanics, loading speed, uhmwpe


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