, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 603-608

Effect of γ-Ray irradiation on surface oxidation of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene/zirconia composite prepared byin situ ziegler-natta polymerization

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Novel ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)/zirconia composites were previously prepared by thein situ polymerization of ethylene using a Ti-based Ziegler-Natta catalyst supported on to the surface of zirconia, as a bearing material for artificial joints. Tribological tests revealed that a uniform dispersion of zirconia in UHMWPE markedly increased the wear resistance. The effects of zirconia content on the oxidation behavior of the γ-ray-treated UHMWPE/zirconia composite surfaces were examined. The oxidation index that estimates the oxidation degree as the content of total carbonyl compounds was monitored using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy-attenuated total reflectance. The changes in the surface composition due to the oxidation were confirmed by electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis. The extent of oxidation decreased with increasing zirconia content, which was attributed to the increased crystallinity as well as the decreased polymer portion of the UHMWPE/zirconia composites.

These authors contributed equally to this work.