New insights into hard phases of CoCrMo metal-on-metal hip replacements

Y. Liao*, R. Pourzal, P. Stemmer, M. A. Wimmer, J. J. Jacobs, A. Fischer, L. D. Marks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations

Abstract

The microstructural and mechanical properties of the hard phases in CoCrMo prosthetic alloys in both cast and wrought conditions were examined using transmission electron microscopy and nanoindentation. Besides the known carbides of M23C6-type (M=Cr, Mo, Co) and M6C-type which are formed by either eutectic solidification or precipitation, a new mixed-phase hard constituent has been found in the cast alloys, which is composed of ~100nm fine grains. The nanosized grains were identified to be mostly of M23C6 type using nano-beam precession electron diffraction, and the chemical composition varied from grain to grain being either Cr- or Co-rich. In contrast, the carbides within the wrought alloy having the same M23C6 structure were homogeneous, which can be attributed to the repeated heating and deformation steps. Nanoindentation measurements showed that the hardness of the hard phase mixture in the cast specimen was ~15.7GPa, while the M23C6 carbides in the wrought alloy were twice as hard (~30.7GPa). The origin of the nanostructured hard phase mixture was found to be related to slow cooling during casting. Mixed hard phases were produced at a cooling rate of 0.2°C/s, whereas single phase carbides were formed at a cooling rate of 50°C/s. This is consistent with sluggish kinetics and rationalizes different and partly conflicting microstructural results in the literature, and could be a source of variations in the performance of prosthetic devices in-vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

Keywords

  • Carbide
  • CoCrMo alloy
  • Hard phases
  • Hip prosthesis
  • Metal-on-metal
  • Precession electron diffraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials

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