Spectral analysis of ceramic hip squeaking
Sanders, A., I. Tibbitts, and R. Brannon. (2012). “Concomitant evolution of wear and squeaking in dual-severity, lubricated wear testing of ceramic-on-ceramic hip prostheses.” Journal of Orthopaedic Research: DOI 10.1002/jor.22080.
Ceramic-on-ceramic (CoC) hip bearings were tested in short-term wear tests with a systematically varied contact force. Continuous vibration and intermittent surface roughness measurements were obtained to elucidate potential causes of in vivo hip joint squeaking. The three-phase test comprised alternating cycles of edge loading (EL) and concentric articulation (CA), always using ample serum lubricant. A 50,000-cycle wear trial in which the contact force during CA was distant from the head’s wear patch yielded no squeaking and practically no liner roughening. In 10-cycle trials of an edge-worn head coupled with a pristine liner, the contact force was varied in magnitude and point of application; immediate, recurrent squeaking occurred only when the contact force exceeded a critical threshold value and was centered upon the head’s wear patch. In a 27,000-cycle wear trial with the contact force applied near the margin of the head’s wear patch, recurrent squeaking emerged progressively as the liner’s inner surface was roughened via its articulation with the worn portion of the head. The results reveal key conditions that yield recurrent squeaking in vitro in various scenarios without resorting to implausible dry conditions. A fundamental theory explains that hip squeaking is induced by myriad stress waves emanating from asperity collisions; yet, the root cause is edge loading.
Sanders, A. P., P. J. Dudhiya, and R. M. Brannon. (2012). “Thin Hard Crest on the Edge of Ceramic Acetabular Liners Accelerates Wear in Edge Loading.” Journal of Arthroplasty 27(1): 150-152.
Ceramic acetabular liners may exhibit a small, sharp crest—an artifact of discontinuous machining steps—at the junction between the concave spherical surface and the interior edge. On 3 ceramic liners, this crest was found to form a 9° to 11° deviation from tangency. Edge loading wear tests were conducted directly on this crest and on a smoother region of the edge. The crest elicited 2 to 15 times greater volumetric wear on the femoral head. The propensity of the crest to rapidly (<2000 wear cycles) cause elevated wear under low contact force (200 N) suggests that the crest artifact of prevailing machining protocols might be a root cause of stripe wear and squeaking in ceramic acetabular bearings.
Some ceramic-on-ceramic hip implants have been shown to squeak in vivo. While many researchers have investigated the squeaking phenomenon, the root cause is still debated. The most widely accepted hypotheses postulate that squeaking occurs as a result of edge-loading, stripe-wear, vibrations that are amplified by the femoral stem, dryness, or a combination of the foregoing. In our custom test apparatus to asses wear related squeaking, we found that even when both implants are severely worn, squeaking only occurs under dry conditions as shown in the attached video.
Ceramic-on-Ceramic Hip Implants Squeak Only When Dry