Wear properties of alumina, zirconia and alumina/zirconia nano-composite ceramics were investigated with two types of wear apparatus. An end face apparatus was used to measure wear between flat surfaces in distilled water. Results show that wear of alumina is lower than that of zirconia under poor lubrication conditions. According to the observed wear surfaces, adhesion and micro-ploughing are the major wear mechanism for zirconia. The wear rate under concentrated contact pressure was measured with a sphere on flat apparatus in bovine serum solution. In contrast to the former test, alumina shows higher wear rate than zirconia due to micro-cracking. Wear of alumina/zirconia nano-composite ceramic is lower than alumina and zirconia monolithic ceramics during both tests. In other words, the nano-composite ceramics shows higher wear resistance irrespective of lubrication conditions and contact pressure. It is concluded that the alumina/zirconia nano-composite ceramics have excellent properties for ceramic/ceramic joint prostheses.
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