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Simple isolation method for the bulk isolation of wear particles from metal on metal bearing surfaces generated in a hip simulator test


Isolation and characterization of metal-on-metal (MoM) wear particles from simulator lubricants is essential to understand wear behaviour, ion release and associated corrosive activity related to the wear particles. Substantial challenges remain to establish a simple, precise and repeatable protocol for the isolation and analysis of wear particles due to their extremely small size, their tendency to agglomerate and degrade. In this paper, we describe a simple and efficient method for the bulk isolation and characterisation of wear particles from MoM bearings. Freeze drying was used to remove the large volume of water from the serum lubricant, enzymes used to digest the proteins and ultracentrifugation to finally isolate and purify the particles. The present study involved a total of eight steps for the isolation process and a wear particle extraction efficiency of 45% was achieved.

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The authors are grateful to Corin, Tecvac, the EPSRC and the TSB for co-funding this work through the UK TSB Project No. TP-Q0033F, ‘SMARTHIP’ and for the invaluable comments from Dr. F. Billi, LAOH, UCLA during the preparation of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Julia C. Shelton.

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Lu, F., Royle, M., Lali, F.V. et al. Simple isolation method for the bulk isolation of wear particles from metal on metal bearing surfaces generated in a hip simulator test. J Mater Sci: Mater Med 23, 891–901 (2012).

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  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate
  • Wear Particle
  • Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry
  • Particulate Debris
  • Total Metal Content