To enhance the oxidation strength and crosslinking yield of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), its composites were prepared by mixing 1%, 2%, and 3% (by wt.) of magnesium silicate hydrous (sepiolite) during this study. These composites were irradiated with 25 kGy and 50
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To enhance the oxidation strength and crosslinking yield of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), its composites were prepared by mixing 1%, 2%, and 3% (by wt.) of magnesium silicate hydrous (sepiolite) during this study. These composites were irradiated with 25 kGy and 50 kGy of irradiation doses in the open air. Subsequent to irradiation, the composites were characterized for updates in structure, oxidation strength, and degree of crosslinking while estimating the values of oxidation index (OI), crosslink density (Gx), and percent crystallinity (Xc), respectively. The reaction of modified sepiolite (SP) on irradiating UHMWPE/SP composites was evident from the origination of peaks at Si-O, O-Si-O, Si-O-Si, and Mg-OH and stretching vibration at 974 cm−1
, 1014 cm−1
, and 1080 cm−1
, respectively. In addition, the moderate negative correlation of OI (−0.46) and strong positive correlation of Gx (0.87) with the absorbed dose, made obvious from correlation analysis, confirmed the effectiveness of SP in enhancing the oxidation strength and crosslink density of UHMWPE. Furthermore, cluster analysis (CA) grouped the composites as low, moderate, and best based on dissimilarities, i.e., oxidation strength and crosslink density, which was further confirmed by principal component analysis (PCA). PCA also revealed that the OI, Gx, and absorbed dose were the active variables for this best group. After confirming the effectiveness of SP (as an active filler for enhancing the oxidation strength and crosslink density of UHMWPE) and recognizing the OI, Gx, and absorbed dose as active variables, the next step was to determine the necessary minimum amount of SP concentration and radiation dose required for the composite that outperforms all others. For this, a parametric graph theory and matrix approach was employed to rank the composites of the best group, revealing that the UHMWPE/SP composite with 1% (by wt.) of Si12
O and irradiated with 50 kGy of irradiation dose was the most suitable choice of all existing alternatives tested in this study. Although this is the first attempt, to the best of our knowledge, where a smart approach using multivariate calculus and decision-making tools was utilized for figuring the best UHMWPE composite formulation along with appropriate treatment dose, the results and methodology could be extended for any polymer of industrial scale, such as those used in medical implants, defense armor, bulletproof jackets, etc.