Superior lubrication mechanism in poly(vinyl alcohol) hybrid gel as artificial cartilage

Teruo Murakami, Seido Yarimitsu, Nobuo Sakai, Kazuhiro Nakashima, Tetsuo Yamaguchi, Yoshinori Sawae, Atsushi Suzuki, Ardian Morina, Anne Neville, Tomasz Liskiewicz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    With recent progress of material technologies, the wear resistance of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene for total joint prostheses has been improved, but under severe conditions friction and wear problems have not yet been completely solved. Therefore, the application of artificial hydrogel cartilage with similar properties to natural articular cartilage is expected to solve the friction and wear problems by improvement of lubrication mechanism with superior tribological functions. In this study, reciprocating tests of four kinds of poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogels were carried out and the biphasic finite element analysis was conducted. As artificial cartilage specimens, four kinds of poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogels were prepared using the repeated freeze-thawing (FT) method, the cast-drying (CD) method and the hybrid method with different layered structure as FT on CD or CD on FT. In reciprocating test of ellipsoidal poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogel specimen against flat glass plate in saline solution, four kinds of hydrogels exhibited very different frictional levels as hybrid (CD on FT) < CD < FT < hybrid (FT on CD). It is noticed that hybrid (CD on FT) gel maintained extremely low friction and showed minimal wear. The effectiveness of biphasic lubrication was evaluated by biphasic finite element analysis. The importance of the load support by fluid phase at early stage and the surface lubricity after lowering of interstitial fluid pressure in poly(vinyl alcohol) hybrid (CD on FT) gel are discussed by comparison of experiment and finite element analysis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1160-1170
    Number of pages11
    JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2017

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Surfaces and Interfaces
    • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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