Title page for ETD etd-07282005-083909

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Opperman, Tertius
Email tertius.opperman@sasol.com
URN etd-07282005-083909
Document Title Tribological evaluation of joint fluid and the development of a synthetic lubricant for use in hip joint simulators
Degree MEd (Mechanical Engineering)
Department Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering
Advisor Name Title
Mr N D L Burger
  • wear
  • wear debris
  • non-Newtonian
  • lubricity
  • lubricant
  • viscosity
  • joint fluid
  • synovial fluid
  • simulator
  • hip
Date 2005-02-08
Availability unrestricted
Over the years, different lubricants have been used to operate hip simulators. The current applicable ISO standard (ISO 14242-1:2002) recommends the use of 25% calf serum diluted with deionised water. The standard further recommends that the fluid be changed and the acetabular cup be weighed every 500 000 cycles. This procedure results in a loss of both the third body wear particles and the wear pattern. The purpose of this study was to develop a synthetic lubricant that would map the viscosity and lubricity properties of joint fluid (“synovial fluid”) over the whole duration of a simulator test, which is typically five million cycles.

The first objective of this study was to find the effect of temperature increase on the viscous and lubricative properties of joint fluid retrieved from both primary and revision patients prior to surgery.

The lubricity tests were done on a Linear-Oscillation Test Machine (SRV machine). Three test temperatures were used namely 38ºC, 50ºC and 60ºC. The load at failure and the average coefficient of friction were parameters measured during these tests. A decrease in the load at failure was found for an increase in test temperature, while the coefficient of friction stayed relatively stable.

The viscosity tests were done using a Brookfield Viscometer. The three test temperatures mentioned above, were copied. The joint fluid tested showed pseudoplastic flow behaviour. An increase in the viscosity as a function of test temperature increase and a magnitude of shear rate was observed.

The second objective of this study was to develop a synthetic lubricant that had the same average properties than that found for the retrieved joint fluid. A mixture of three different chemicals, namely Poloxamer 188, Xanthan Gum and Lube Boosterâ II was used to map the viscous and lubricative properties of the joint fluid.

A comparative test using the synthetic lubricant and bovine serum was performed in a custom-built simulator. Wear debris was sampled at 500 000 cycle intervals up to 4 500 000 cycles. During these intervals the bovine serum stations were drained and washed with deionised water, but not stripped and weighed as specified in the ISO standard. This was done intentionally to preserve the wear pattern during the entire test. The synthetic lubricant stations were not stripped or drained during these intervals. This ensured that the wear pattern was maintained and that the effect of accumulative wear could be investigated throughout the duration of the test. The wear debris from the test was then compared to wear debris retrieved from scar tissue of revision patients.

The wear debris that was found in the scar tissue retrieved from patients was similar in shape and size to that which was found in the simulator using bovine serum and the synthetic lubricant. It can thus be concluded that an acceptable lubricant had been developed to replace the current test medium in the simulators.

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