Reducing the Wear of the UHMWPE Used in the Total Hip ‎Replacement after Low-Pressure Plasma Treatment

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Polytechnic Department, Sevastopol State University, Sevastopol, 299053, Russia‎

2 N.N. Semenov Federal Research Center of Chemical Physics (Branch), Moscow region, 142432, Russia‎


This paper discusses the problem of evaluating the microhardness gradient effect on surface wear of an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) films treated with low-pressure plasma. Its solution was first obtained on the basis of the well-known Archard's wear law, modified taking into account the use of approximating dependences of negative depth gradients of surfaces microhardness, calculated on the basis of experimental data obtained by the nanoindentation method for samples with different plasma processing times (from 3 to 12 minutes). The wear evaluation was carried out in the ANSYS and MATLAB software in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14242-1 using the method of numerical simulation developed by authors. The simulation results show that such an integral parameter as cumulative volume wear is significantly lower for specimens treated with low-pressure plasma as compared to untreated ones. It has been found that both linear and cumulative volume wear decrease with an increase in the plasma processing time of the sample. The largest reduction (4 times compared to untreated) has been obtained for samples with a hardness gradient obtained by plasma surface treatment for 12 minutes. This time can be considered the maximum possible for processing UHMWPE with low-pressure plasma, since further increase in this time enhances the sample surface roughness and, consequently, the coefficient of friction. The use of low-pressure plasma treated UHMWPE films in THR will significantly reduce their wear and the likelihood of osteolysis, and thus increase the THR lifespan.


Main Subjects

Publisher’s Note Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. 

[1] Poliakov, A., Pakhaliuk, V., Popov, V.L., Current Trends in Improving of Artificial Joints Design and Technologies for Their Arthroplasty, Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering, 6, 2020, 16.
[2] Laska, A., Comparison of Conventional and Crosslinked Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) Used in Hip Implant, World Scientific News, 73(1), 2017, 51–60.
[3] Dougherty, P.S.M., Pudjoprawoto, R., Higgs, C.F.III., An Investigation of The Wear Mechanism Leading to Self-Replenishing Transfer Films, Wear, 272, 2011, 122–132.
[4] Rhee, S.H., Ludema, K.C., Mechanisms of Formation of Polymeric Transfer Films, Wear, 46, 1978, 231–240.
[5] Schwartz, C.J., Bahadur, S., Studies in the Tribological Behavior and Transfer Film-Counterface Bond Strength for Polyphenylene Sulfide Filled With Nanoscale Alumina Particles, Wear, 237, 2000, 261–273.
[6] Bahadur, S., The Development of Transfer Layers and Their Role in Polymer Tribology, Wear, 245, 2000, 92–99.
[7] Tankut, A.V., Rationale for Hip Arthroplasty Using Monocrystalline Corundum in the Joint of the Endoprosthesis, Ph.D. Thesis, Sytenko Institute of Spine and Joint Pathology National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, Kharkov, Ukraine, 2010.
[8] Shanbhag, A.S., Jacobs, J.J., Black, J., Galante, J.O., Glant, T.T., Effects of Particles on Fibroblast Proliferation and Bone Resorption in Vitro, Clinical Orthopaedics Related Research, 342, 1997, 205–217.
[9] Baena, J.C., Wu, J., Peng, Z., Wear Performance of UHMWPE and Reinforced UHMWPE Composites in Arthroplasty Applications: A Review, Lubricants, 3, 2015, 413–436.
[10] Harry, McKellop H., Shen, F-W., Lu, B., Campbell, P., Salovey, R., Development of an Extremely Wear-Resistant Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene for Total Hip Replacements, Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 17(2), 1999, 157–67.
[11] Clyne, T., Hull, D., An introduction to composite materials, Cambridge (UK), Cambridge University Press, 2019.
[12] Budhe, S., Banea, M., De Barros, S., Da Silva, L., An Updated Review of Adhesively Bonded Joints in Composite Materials, International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives, 72, 2017, 30–42.
[13] Bakshi, S.R., Tercero, J.E., Agarwal, A., Synthesis and Characterization of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Composite by Electrostatic Spraying Technique, Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 38(12), 2007, 2493–2499.
[14] Kumar, R.M., Kumar, S., Kumar, B.V.M., Lahiri, D., Effects of Carbon Nanotube Aspect Ratio on Strengthening and Tribological Behavior of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Composite, Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 76, 2015, 62–72.
[15] Tai, Z., Chen, Y., An, Y., Yan, X., Xue, Q., Tribological Behavior of UHMWPE Reinforced with Graphene Oxide Nanosheets, Tribology Letters, 46(1), 2012, 55–63.
[16] Bhattacharyya, A., Chen, S., Zhu, M., Graphene Reinforced Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene with Improved Tensile Strength and Creep Resistance Properties, Express Polymer Letters, 8(2), 2014, 74–84.
[17] Mohammed, A.S., Fareed, M.I., Improving the Friction and Wear of Poly-Ether-Etherketone (PEEK) by Using Thin Nano-Composite Coatings, Wear, 364–365, 2016, 154–162.
[18] Samad, M.A., Sinha, S.K., Mechanical, Thermal and Tribological Characterization of a UHMWPE Film Reinforced with Carbon Nanotubes Coated on Steel, Tribology International, 44(12), 2011, 1932–1941.
[19] Chih, A., Anson-Casaos, A., Puertolas, J.A., Frictional and Mechanical Behaviour of Graphene/UHMWPE Composite Coatings, Tribology International, 116, 2017, 295–302.
[20] Liu, H., Pei, Y, Xie, D., Deng, X., Leng, Y.X., Jin, Y., Huang, N., Surface Modification of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) by Argon Plasma, Applied Surface Science, 256(12), 2010, 3941–3945. 
[21] Chu, P.K., Chen, J.Y., Wang, L.P., Huang, N., Plasma-Surface Modification of Biomaterials, Materials Science and Engineering: R: Reports, 36, 2002, 143–206.
[22] Turicek, J., Ratts, N., Kaltchev, M., Masound, N., Surface Treatment of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) by Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP) for Biocompatibility Enhancement, Applied Sciences, 11(4), 2021, 1703
[23] Omran, A.V., Baitukha, A., Pulpytel, J., Sohbatzadeh, F., Arefi-Khonsari, F., Atmospheric Pressure Surface Modification and Cross-Linking of UHMWPE Film and Inside HDPE Tube by Transporting Discharge, Plasma Processes and Polymers, 15(1), 2017, 1–12.
[24] Trimukhe, A.M., Pandiyaraj, K.N., Tripathi, A., Melo, J.S., Deshmukh, R.R., Plasma Surface Modification of Biomaterials for Biomedical Applications: In Advances in Biomaterials for Biomedical Applications, Tripathi, A., Melo, J.S., Eds. Singapore: Springer Nature, 1917, 94–166.
[25] Pakhaliuk, V., Polyakov, A., Kalinin, M., Kramar, V., Improving the Finite Element Simulation of Wear of Total Hip Prosthesis’ Spherical Joint with the Polymeric Component, Procedia Engineering, 100, 2015, 539–548.
[26] Pakhaliuk, V., Polyakov, A., Kalinin. M., Pashkov, Y., Gadkov, P., Modifying and Expanding the Simulation of Wear in the Spherical Joint with a Polymeric Component of the Total Hip Prosthesis, Facta Universitatis Series: Mechanical Engineering, 14(3), 2016, 301–312.
[27] Ruggiero, A., Sicilia, A., Lubrication modeling and wear calculation in artificial hip joint during the gait, Tribology International, 142, 2020, 105993.
[28] Ruggiero, A., Sicilia, A., Affatato, S., In silico total hip replacement wear testing in the framework of ISO 14242-3 accounting for mixed elasto-hydrodynamic lubrication effects, Wear, 460–461, 2020, 203420.
[29] Polyakov, O.M., Pakhaliuk, V.I., Lazarev, V.B., Shtanko, P.K., Ivanov, Y.M., Stand and Control System for Wear Testing of the Spherical Joints of Vehicle Suspension at Complex Loading Conditions, IFAC Proceedings Volumes, 46(25), 2013, 106–111.
[30] Pakhaliuk, V., Polyakov, A., Simulation of Wear in a Spherical Joint with a Polymeric Component of the Total Hip Replacement Considering Activities of Daily Living, Facta Universitatis Series: Mechanical Engineering, 16(1), 2018, 51–63.
[31] Malito, L.G., Arevalo, S., Kozak, A., Spiegelberg, S., Bellare, A., Pruitt, L., Material Properties of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene: Comparison of Tension, Compression, Nanomechanics and Microstructure across Clinical Formulations, Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 83, 2018, 9–19.
[32] Aghdam, A.B., Khonsari, M.M., On the Correlation between Wear and Entropy in Dry Sliding Contact, Wear, 270(11–12), 2011, 781–790.
[33] Marcondes, A.R., Ueda, M., Kostov, K.G., Beloto, A.F., Leite, N.F., Gomes, G.F., Lepienski, C.M., Improvements of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Mechanical Properties by Nitrogen Plasma Immersion Ion Implantation, Brazilian Journal of Physics, 34(4B), 2004, 1667–1672.
[34] Maxian, T.A., Brown, T.D., Pedersen, D.R., Callaghan, J.J., A Sliding-Distance-Coupled Finite Element Formulation for Polyethylene Wear in Total Hip Arthroplasty, Journal of Biomechanics, 27, 1996, 687–692.
[35] Kang, L., Galvin, A.I., Zin, Z.M., Fisher, J., A Simple Fully Integrated Contact-Coupled Wear Prediction for Ultra-High Weight Polyethylene Hip Implants, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine, 220(1), 2006, 35–46.
[36] Lyons, B.J., Johnson, W.C., In Irradiation of Polymeric Materials: Processes, Mechanisms, and Applications, Reichmanis, E., Frank, C.W., O'Donnell, J.H., Eds. Washington D C: American Chemical Society, 527, 1993, 62–73.
[37] Damm, P., Dimke, J., Ackermann, R., Bender, A., Graichen, F., Halder, A., Beier, A., Bergmann, G., Friction in Total Hip Joint Prosthesis Measured In Vivo during Walking, PLoS One, 8(11), 2013, e78373.
[38] Li, Q., Popov, V.L., On the possibility of frictional damping with reduced wear: A note on the applicability of Archard’s law of adhesive wear under conditions of fretting, Physical Mesomechanics, 20(5), 2017, 91–95.
[39] Popov, V.L., Gervé, A., Kehrwald, B., Smolin, I.Y., Simulation of wear in combustion engines, Computational Materials Science, 19(1-4), 2000, 285–291.
[40] Pohrt, R., Li, Q., Complete boundary element formulation for normal and tangential contact problems, Physical Mesomechanics, 17(4), 2014, 334–340.