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Inlet protein aggregation: a new mechanism for lubricating film formation with model synovial fluids.
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MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21870377     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This paper reports a fundamental study of lubricant film formation with model synovial fluid components (proteins) and bovine serum (BS). The objective was to investigate the role of proteins in the lubrication process. Film thickness was measured by optical interferometry in a ball-on-disc device (mean speed range of 2-60 mm/s). A commercial cobalt-chromium (CoCrMo) metal femoral head was used as the stationary component. The results for BS showed complex time-dependent behaviour, which was not representative of a simple fluid. After a few minutes sliding BS formed a thin adherent film of 10-20 nm, which was attributed to protein absorbance at the surface. This layer was augmented by a hydrodynamic film, which often increased at slow speeds. At the end of the test deposited surface layers of 20-50 nm were measured. Imaging of the contact showed that at slow speeds an apparent 'phase boundary' formed in the inlet just in front of the Hertzian zone. This was associated with the formation of a reservoir of high-viscosity material that periodically moved through the contact forming a much thicker film. The study shows that proteins play an important role in the film-forming process and current lubrication models do not capture these mechanisms.
J Fan; C W Myant; R Underwood; P M Cann; A Hart
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine     Volume:  225     ISSN:  0954-4119     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc Inst Mech Eng H     Publication Date:  2011 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-08-29     Completed Date:  2011-09-20     Revised Date:  2014-08-19    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8908934     Medline TA:  Proc Inst Mech Eng H     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  696-709     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Albumins / chemistry
Biomedical Engineering
Equipment Failure Analysis
Hip Prosthesis
Models, Biological
Protein Multimerization
Surface Properties
Synovial Fluid / chemistry*
gamma-Globulins / chemistry
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Albumins; 0/gamma-Globulins

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Full Text
Journal Information
Journal ID (nlm-ta): Proc Inst Mech Eng H
Journal ID (iso-abbrev): Proc Inst Mech Eng H
Journal ID (publisher-id): PIH
Journal ID (hwp): sppih
ISSN: 0954-4119
ISSN: 2041-3033
Publisher: SAGE Publications, Sage UK: London, England
Article Information
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© IMechE 2011
Received Day: 1 Month: 2 Year: 2010
Accepted Day: 19 Month: 1 Year: 2011
epub-ppub publication date: Month: 7 Year: 2011
Print publication date: Month: 7 Year: 2011
Volume: 225 Issue: 7
First Page: 696 Last Page: 709
PubMed Id: 21870377
ID: 4107775
DOI: 10.1177/0954411911401306
Publisher Id: 10.1177_0954411911401306

Inlet protein aggregation: a new mechanism for lubricating film formation with model synovial fluids
J Fan1
C W Myant1*
R Underwood2
P M Cann1
A Hart2
1Tribology Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK
2London Retrieval Centre, Charing Cross Hospital, Imperial College London, London, UK
*Tribology Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ, UK. email:

The authors wish to thank the EPSRC for funding this research (EP/E028721/1) and Dr A. Mavraki for carrying out the rheology measurements.

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Keywords: artificial hip joint, synovial fluid, boundary lubrication, CoCrMo alloy.

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