Wear of Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) has been the most important tribological issue of artificial joint prostheses since fine wear particles released from UHMWPE components exert serious adverse reactions on living tissues. Those tissue reactions finally induce the aseptic loosening of prosthetic joint components. Therefore, a large number of studies have been conducted to understand the in vivo wear characteristics of UHMWPE and to extend the longevity of artificial joints by improving wear resistance of polyethylene components. However, the polyethylene wear mechanism in human body is very unique and complex because it is inevitably affected by the complicated joint kinematics and various constituents contained in the joint environment. This chapter focuses on physiological factors involved in the in vivo wear mechanism of UHMWPE. We first review representative studies about effects of kinematical and environmental factors on the in vivo wear mechanism of UHMWPE components of joint prostheses. Subsequently, some experimental results are presented to discuss about the considerable effects of multidirectional nature of the sliding motion in prosthetic joints and biological macromolecules contained in the periprosthetic fluid.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)