Wear properties of alumina/zirconia composite ceramics for joint prostheses measured with an end-face apparatus

Yusuke Morita, Kenichi Nakata, Yoon Ho Kim, Tohru Sekino, Koichi Niihara, Ken Ikeuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While only alumina is applied to all-ceramic joint prostheses at present, a stronger ceramic is required to prevent fracture and chipping due to impingement and stress concentration. Zirconia could be a potential substitute for alumina because it has high strength and fracture toughness. However, the wear of zirconia/zirconia combination is too high for clinical use. Although some investigations on composite ceramics revealed that mixing of different ceramics was able to improve the mechanical properties of ceramics, there are few reports about wear properties of composite ceramics for joint prosthesis. Since acetabular cup and femoral head of artificial hip joint are finished precisely, they indicate high geometric conformity. Therefore, wear test under flat contact was carried out with an end-face wear testing apparatus for four kinds of ceramics: alumina monolith, zirconia monolith, alumina-based composite ceramic, and zirconia based composite ceramic. Mean contact pressure was 10 MPa and sliding velocity was 40 mm/s. The wear test continued for 72 hours and total sliding distance was 10 km. After the test, the wear factor was calculated. Worn surfaces were observed with a scanning electron micrograph (SEM). The results of this wear test show that the wear factors of the both composite ceramics are similarly low and their mechanical properties are much better than those of the alumina monolith and the zirconia monolith. According to these results, it is predicted that joint prostheses of the composite ceramics are safer against break down and have longer lifetime compared with alumina/alumina joint prostheses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-270
Number of pages8
JournalBio-medical materials and engineering
Volume14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Keywords

  • Artificial joint
  • alumina
  • composite ceramics
  • flat contact
  • zirconia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering

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