A novel route for processing Co-Cr-Mo orthopaedic alloys

Bhairav Patel, Mohan Edirisinghe, Fawad Inam, Michael Reece, William Bonfield, Jie Huang, Arash Angadji

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


Millions of people suffer from bone and joint inflammatory problems and usually result in extreme cases with total joint replacement. Most commonly affected joints are the hip and the knee. Over the past 20 years there has been a revival in interest of metal-on-metal hip replacements. Various alloys have been used in joint replacement, the most successful in the Cobalt-based alloys. As compared to others the cobalt based alloys have higher wear resistance and therefore less risk of failure. The most common Co-based alloy used in clinical application is the ASTM F75 alloy, which is extensively used in femoral and acetabular components. Conventional methods to fabricate the alloy are via cast or wrought techniques. Wrought alloys are better than their cast materials due to their superior mechanical properties as the forging process promotes plastic deformation. An alternative method of fabrication is via powder processing and has shown significant improvements to produce finer grained materials, which relate to enhancement in properties, such as strength, toughness, ductility. One of the key stages of powder processing is sintering of the powder to fuse the particles together. A superior but simple sintering processing is spark plasma sintering (SPS), which produces highly dense materials with minimum grain growth. This is achieved by a pulsed electrical current heating the material while applying a pressure to compact the powdered material. This process has the ability to densify nanopowders, in order to produce microstructures with finer grains and superior mechanical properties. Using SPS and nanopowders for the first time, we have been able to prepare the ASTM F75 cobalt–chromium–molybdenum (Co–Cr–Mo) orthopaedic alloy composition. In this work we have investigated, the effect of processing variables on the structural features of the alloy (phases present, grain size and microstructure). We have been able to produce specimens of >99% of the theoretical density. The structures were free of carbides, which a vital breakthrough. Detrimental carbide phases in the microstructure as found in the more conventional methods of fabrication have shown to cause problems in wear. The compacts are of higher hardness than cast or wrought products despite the absence of carbides in the microstructure. The gain in hardness is because of the presence of oxides in the microstructure and we hope to quantify the oxide content in the future. The mechanisms of oxide formation are explained by considering chemical thermodynamics and kinetics. The next step is to evaluate the tribological performance (wear, friction, lubrication regimes) of this SPS-processed material and compare its performance with conventional MoM products (cast and wrought). The SPS route offers significant advantages over the conventional cast and wrought routes used to prepare this alloy for orthopaedic applications.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2010
EventThe 23d Annual Congress of the International Society for Technology in Anthroplasty (ISTA 2010) - Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai, UAE
Duration: 8 Oct 2010 → …


ConferenceThe 23d Annual Congress of the International Society for Technology in Anthroplasty (ISTA 2010)
Period8/10/10 → …


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