The ribology of joints and problems of modern orthopedics
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The paper presents a review of current trends in biotribiology. The authors discuss the extent of the achievements in this field at the turn of the 21st century. This period is distinguished by the discovery of liquid-crystalline and quasi-electret states revealed by AFM in the articular lubricating fluid; new boundary lubrication mechanisms, which are realized by organic super-lubricants at the nanolevel; and methods for in vitro study of friction in joints using electromagnetic fields able to simulate the natural articular biofield. A relationship is traced between biotribology and the chief directions in contemporary orthopedics, namely: 1) articular chondroprotection exercised via local therapeutic methods based on tribomonitoring of pharmaceutic substances; 2) injection of drugs based on blood serum; 3) development of a new generation of articular endoprostheses able to simulate the biophysical properties of synovial joints. It is shown that progress in modern biotribology has provided scientific substantiatiation of orthopedic treatment procedures. The ideas advanced by I.V. Kragelskii in resolving various engineering problems have proven fruitful in biotribology, which deals with living tissues and biological fluids.