Metal-on-metal bearings for total hip replacements have been introduced as an alternative to polyethylene in young and more active patients. These have, however, been shown to be prone to implant malpositioning and have been limited by some specific design features. In that context, coatings present an option to increase wear resistance by keeping the high fracture strength of the metal substrate. A custom-made electroplating setup was designed for the coating of CoCr substrates using (a) an industrial standard chromium electrolyte; (b) a custom-made hexavalent chromium (Cr6+
) electrolyte with a reduced chromium trioxide (CrO3
) content, both without solid additives and (c) with the addition of fullerene (C60
) nanoparticles; and (d) a trivalent chromium (Cr3+
) electrolyte with C60
addition. All coatings showed an increase in microhardness compared with the metal substrate. Trivalent coatings were thinner (10 µm) than the hexavalent coatings (23–40 µm) and resulted in increased roughness and crack density. Wear was found to be reduced for the hexavalent chromium coatings by 70–84% compared with the CoCr–CoCr reference bearing while the trivalent chromium coating even increased wear by more than 300%. The addition of fullerenes to the electrolyte did not show any further tribological effect.
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