Multifunctional composite coating as a wear-resistant layer for the bearing in total hip joint replacement.
Cho SM., Park J-W., Han H-S., Seok H-K., Moon M-W., Kim YC.
In this study, we developed Ti-TiN composite coatings with fine lamellar structures for use as an enhanced wear-resistant layer between the bearing components of the polymer-lined acetabular cup and the metal femoral head of total hip joint replacements (THRs). A plasma spraying deposition method was used to apply the composite coatings, and the thickness of TiN layer in the composite could be controlled by varying the flow rate of N(2) atmospheric gas. The surface properties, such as roughness and hardness, were analyzed, and the friction coefficient (μ) and wear rate (k) were measured using a bovine serum wear test. A biocompatibility test was performed to evaluate the toxicity of the composite coatings. Our experimental results reveal that the friction and wear resistance of composite coatings is superior to that of the metallic implant materials, and they have a higher level of fracture toughness as compared with other ceramic coatings because of a good balance between the hardness of the TiN and the toughness of the Ti. Furthermore, these coatings possessed excellent biocompatibility. The experimental results also demonstrate that the improved wear properties can be attributed to a certain level of unavoidable porosity that is due to the rapid solidification of liquid droplets during the plasma spraying process. The pores in the coating surface play an important role as a lubricant (bovine serum) reservoir, reducing the actual contact area and friction losses.