Publication: Assessment of the applicability of the Hertzian contact theory to edge-loaded prosthetic hip bearings.

Sanders, A. P. and R. M. Brannon (2011). “Assessment of the applicability of the Hertzian contact theory to edge-loaded prosthetic hip bearings.” Journal of Biomechanics 44(16): 2802-2808.

Abstract

The components of prosthetic hip bearings may experience in-vivo subluxation and edge loading on the acetabular socket as a result of joint laxity, causing abnormally high, damaging contact stresses. In this research, edge-loaded contact of prosthetic hips is examined analytically and experimentally in the most commonly used categories of material pairs. In edge-loaded ceramic-on-ceramic hips, the Hertzian contact theory yields accurate (conservatively, <10% error) predictions of the contact dimensions. Moreover, the Hertzian theory successfully captures slope and curvature trends in the dependence of contact patch geometry on the applied load. In an edge-loaded ceramic-on-metal pair, a similar degree of accuracy is observed in the contact patch length; however, the contact width is less accurately predicted due to the onset of subsurface plasticity, which is predicted for loads >400N. The Hertzian contact theory is shown to be ill-suited to edge-loaded ceramic-on-polyethylene pairs due to polyethylene’s nonlinear material behavior. This work elucidates the methods and the accuracy of applying classical contact theory to edge-loaded hip bearings. The results help to define the applicability of the Hertzian theory to the design of new components and materials to better resist severe edge loading contact stresses.

Available online:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2011.08.007;

 

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