Preliminary In Vitro Wear Assessment of Ceramic Cemented Femoral Components Coupled with Polyethylene Menisci

Saverio Affatato, Paolo Erani, Maurizio Fersini, Vincenzo Contaldi, Anna Rita Terrizzi, Antonio Licciulli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Success of total knee replacement (TKR) depends on the prosthetic design and materials. The use of metal components is well established with the disadvantage of allergic reactions. Ceramics have been recently proposed because of high wear resistance, excellent biocompatibility, wettability, and suitable mechanical properties. This study was aimed at investigating in vitro wear resistance of Zirconia Toughened Alumina (ZTA)/Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) of TKR femoral components. An in vitro protocol was designed with the application of relevant load profile, 6-degrees-of-freedom knee simulator, and 8 × 105 cycles on the ZTA/UHMWPE configuration under bovine calf serum. Before and after wear test, the femoral components were investigated by using the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and the X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) analyses, and stylus surface roughness measurements. The proposed pre-clinical test yielded repeatable results. In particular, gravimetric results showed that, after 8 × 105 cycles, the mean weight loss of the polyethylene mobile components is 5.3 ± 1.1 mg. The surface roughness measurements (Ramax) performed after the wear test showed no significant variation on the UHMWPE menisci. A slight increase of roughness has been found on the ZTA (0.02 µm before wear test, 0.28 µm after the test). SEM observations did not show significant modification of the surface morphology. Tetragonal to monoclinic phase ratio was measured by XRD before and after wear test to evaluate stability of tetragonal ZrO2 phase. Minimal conversion of tetragonal to monoclinic phase was found from 5.4 to 8%. Although this study is a preliminary evaluation limited to in vitro tests, it provides novel pre-clinical indications about the potential of ceramic TKR femoral components.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 22 2021


  • SEM
  • X-ray diffractometry
  • bovine calf serum
  • ceramic composite
  • knee arthroplasty
  • knee simulator
  • roughness measurements
  • wear

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Preliminary In Vitro Wear Assessment of Ceramic Cemented Femoral Components Coupled with Polyethylene Menisci'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this