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Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine

, Volume 17, Issue 12, pp 1323–1331 | Cite as

Stabilisation of crosslinked ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE)-acetabular components with α-tocopherol

  • C. Wolf
  • J. Maninger
  • K. Lederer
  • H. Frühwirth-Smounig
  • T. Gamse
  • R. Marr
Article

Abstract

A stabilisation of crosslinked ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) with α-tocopherol (vitamin E) used for endoprostheses can increase its resistance against oxidative degradation remarkably. However, the method used for conventional UHMW-PE of adding α-tocopherol to the UHMW-PE powder before processing can not be applied for crosslinked UHMW-PE, since the α-tocopherol hinders the crosslinking process, which would be accompanied by a heavy degradation of this vitamin. The α-tocopherol has therefore to be added after the crosslinking process. This paper presents two methods for a stabilisation of finished products with α-tocopherol. In method 1, UHMW-PE-cubes (20 × 20 × 20 mm3) were stored in pure α-tocopherol under inert atmosphere at temperatures from 100C to 150C resulting in a high mass fraction of α-tocopherol in the edge zones. For further homogenisation, the cubes were stored in inert atmosphere at temperatures from 160C to 200C. In method 2, supercritical CO2 was used to incorporate the vitamin into the UHMW-PE. In an autoclave vessel, the cubes were treated with α-tocopherol dissolved in supercritical CO2 for several hours at temperatures from 100C to 170C. In both cases, the mass fraction of α-tocopherol was detected with the help of a FTIR-microscope. Both methods are well suited to stabilise crosslinked UHMW-PE with α-tocopherol. A stabilisation of the sensitive edge layer as well as a nearly homogenous distribution with varying α-tocopherol content may be realised by varying the process parameters. Using method 2, standard hip cups were stabilized nearly homogeneously with varying mass fraction of α-tocopherol. No oxidation of the UHMW-PE could be detected by infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and HPLC studies showed a very low degradation of the α-tocopherol for both processes.

Keywords

High Performance Liquid Chromatography Oxidative Degradation UHMW Mass Content Crosslinking Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Wolf
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Maninger
    • 1
  • K. Lederer
    • 1
  • H. Frühwirth-Smounig
    • 3
  • T. Gamse
    • 3
  • R. Marr
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry of Polymeric MaterialsUniversity of LeobenLeobenAustria
  2. 2.Polymer Competence Center Leoben GmbH (PCCL)LeobenAustria
  3. 3.Department of Process Engineering and Environmental TechnologyUniversity of TechnologyGrazAustria

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