delta has been widely used in joint replacements thanks to its high strength and wear resistance. In this study, eleven Biolox®
delta femoral head retrievals affected by metal transfer (MT) were analysed by Raman spectroscopy to estimate the tetragonal to monoclinic zirconia phase transformation, whose occurrence may compromise ceramic chemical stability and mechanical strength. The residual stress state was evaluated by both Raman and photoemission spectroscopy. Vm
monoclinic zirconia contents were higher near the centre of the articulating surface and in the MT area than in the border control area of the retrievals. In only one retrieval, stress related to MT appeared a more severe condition, able to induce zirconia phase transformation; for all the others, stresses related to loading in the central region and related to MT, were conducive to a zirconia phase transformation of nearly the same extent. Vm
depth profiling analyses showed that the transformation involved different thicknesses in different samples. Raman data allowed for the investigation of the mechanism of zirconia phase transformation and confirmed that the growth stage was absent and the nucleation stage was not occurring as freely as it would in unconstrained zirconia.
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