The use of Raman spectroscopy in the analysis of UHMWPE uni-condylar bearing systems after run on a force and displacement control knee simulators

Saverio Affatato, Enrico Modena, Simone Carmignato, Paola Taddei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The complications associated with prosthetic failure and revision surgery still constitute the main clinical problem. The objective of wear evaluation is to determine the wear rate and its dependence on the test conditions. To obtain realistic results, a wear test can be performed to reproduce in vivo working conditions and compare the wear characteristics of various total knee prostheses designs.Two knee wear simulators with different input control mechanisms, displacement and force controlled, were used to assess the wear behavior of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene uni-condylar knee prostheses. The differences in wear behavior were assessed using a state-of-art coordinate measuring machine; Raman spectroscopy was used to evaluate the possible crystallinity changes on the uni-condylar menisci induced by mechanical stress. These results were compared with available uni-condylar retrievals.Scratches were visible along the anterior-posterior direction emphasizing that the motion was constant during the movements under the displacement control simulation. On the contrary, different kinematics schemes were observed under the force controlled simulation. The structural Raman markers showed a good correlation with the coordinate measuring machine data, and in particular with the depth of the concavity formed upon in vitro testing or in vivo service. With regards to the in vitro tested components, the specimens tested under force controlled simulator, which underwent a higher volumetric loss, showed a higher increase of the amorphous content. At a molecular level, the wear mechanism did not appear significantly different for the three sets of specimens, with the exception of the amorphous content which, upon wear, increased in the in vitro tested components, while decreased in the retrievals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-790
Number of pages10
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2013


  • Coordinate measuring machine
  • DC simulator
  • FC simulator
  • Knee retrievals
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • UKP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Mechanics of Materials


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