Characterization of irradiated blends of α-tocopherol and UHMWPE

Ebru Oral, Evan S. Greenbaum, Arnaz S. Malhi, William H. Harris, Orhun K. Muratoglu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adhesive/abrasive wear in ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) has been minimized by radiation cross-linking. Irradiation is followed by melting to eliminate residual free radicals and avoid long-term oxidative embrittlement. However, post-irradiation melting reduces the crystallinity of the polymer and hence its strength and fatigue resistance. We proposed an alternative to post-irradiation melting to be the incorporation of the antioxidant α-tocopherol into UHMWPE prior to consolidation. α-Tocopherol is known to react with oxygen and oxidized lipids, stabilizing them against further oxidative degradation reactions. We blended GUR 1050 UHMWPE resin powder with α-tocopherol at 0.1 and 0.3 wt% and consolidated these blends. Then we gamma-irradiated these blends to 100-kGy. We characterized the effect of α-tocopherol on the cross-linking efficiency, oxidative stability, wear behavior and mechanical properties of the blends. (I) The cross-link density of virgin, 0.1 and 0.3 wt% α-tocopherol blended, 100-kGy irradiated UHMWPEs were 175±19, 146±4 and 93±4 mol/m 3, respectively. (II) Maximum oxidation indices for 100-kGy irradiated UHMWPE previously blended with 0, 0.1 and 0.3 wt% α-tocopherol that were subjected to accelerated aging at 80°C in air for 5 weeks were 3.32, 0.09, and 0.05, respectively. (III) The pin-on-disc wear rates of 100-kGy irradiated UHMWPE previously blended with 0.1 and 0.3 wt% α-tocopherol that were subjected to accelerated aging at 80°C in air for 5 weeks were 2.10±0.17 and 5.01±0.76 mg/million cycles, respectively. (IV) Both accelerated aged, α-tocopherol-blended 100-kGy irradiated UHMWPEs showed higher ultimate tensile strength, higher yield strength, and lower elastic modulus when compared to 100-kGy irradiated, virgin UHMWPE. These results showed that α-tocopherol-blended 100-kGy irradiated UHMWPEs were not cross-linked to the same extent as the 100-kGy irradiated, virgin UHMWPE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6657-6663
Number of pages7
JournalBiomaterials
Volume26
Issue number33
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2005

Keywords

  • Antioxidant
  • Gamma-irradiation
  • Hip replacement prosthesis
  • Lipid
  • Polyethylene
  • Wear mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials

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