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Characterization and Accelerated Ageing of UHMWPE Used in Orthopedic Prosthesis by Peroxide

Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Laboratory of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Federal University of Minas Gerais / R. Espírito Santo 35, 30160-030, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2009, 2(2), 562-576;
Received: 8 April 2009 / Revised: 29 April 2009 / Accepted: 8 May 2009 / Published: 13 May 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocompatibility of Materials)
PDF [278 KB, uploaded 13 May 2009]


Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) has been the most commonly used bearing material in total joint arthroplasty. Wear and oxidation fatigue resistance of UHMWPE are regarded as two important mechanical properties to extend the longevity of knee prostheses. Though accelerated in vitro protocols have been developed to test the relative oxidation resistance of various types of UHMWPE, its mechanism is not accurately understood yet. Thus, in the present study an accelerated ageing of UHMWPE in hydrogen peroxide solution was performed and relative oxidation was extensively characterized by Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) spectroscopy and the morphological changes were analyzed by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Different chemical groups of UHMWPE associated with the degradation reaction were monitored for over 120 days in order to evaluate the possible oxidation mechanism(s) which may have occurred. The results have provided strong evidence that the oxidation mechanism is rather complex, and two stages with their own particular first-order kinetics reaction patterns have been clearly identified. Furthermore, hydrogen peroxide has proven to be an efficient oxidative medium to accelerate ageing of UHMWPE. View Full-Text
Keywords: UHMWPE; polymer degradation; polymer oxidation; accelerated aging; prosthesis UHMWPE; polymer degradation; polymer oxidation; accelerated aging; prosthesis

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Rocha, M.; Mansur, A.; Mansur, H. Characterization and Accelerated Ageing of UHMWPE Used in Orthopedic Prosthesis by Peroxide. Materials 2009, 2, 562-576.

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