Superior lubricity in articular cartilage and artificial hydrogel cartilage

Teruo Murakami, Seido Yarimitsu, Kazuhiro Nakashima, Tetsuo Yamaguchi, Yoshinori Sawae, Nobuo Sakai, Atsushi Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


In healthy natural synovial joints, the extremely low friction and minimum wear are maintained by their superior loadcarrying capacity and lubricating ability. This superior lubricating performance appears to be actualized not by single lubrication mode but by synergistic combination of multimode mechanisms such as fluid film, biphasic, hydration, gel film and/or boundary lubrication. On the contrary, in most artificial joints composed of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene against metal or ceramic-mating material, boundary and/or mixed lubrication modes prevail and thus local direct contact brings down high friction and high-wear problems. To extend the durability of artificial joint, the reduction in friction and wear by improvement in lubrication mechanism is required as an effective design solution. In this paper, at the start, the mechanism of superior lubricity for articular cartilage is examined from the viewpoints of biphasic and boundary lubrication mechanism. Subsequently, the proposal of biomimetic artificial hydrogel cartilage is put forward to improve the lubricating modes in artificial joints. The tribological behaviours in two kinds of poly(vinyl alcohol) hydrogels are compared with that of natural cartilage. The importance in lubrication mechanism in artificial hydrogel cartilage is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1099-1111
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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