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Challenges associated with using bovine serum in wear testing orthopaedic biopolymers

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Tom Joyce


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For appropriate in vitro wear testing of prostheses and their biomaterials, the choice of lubricant is critical. Bovine serum is the lubricant recommended by several international standards for wear testing artificial joints and their biomaterials because the wear rate and wear mechanisms closely match clinical results of polyethylene bearings. The main problem with the use of bovine serum as a lubricant is protein degradation and precipitation formation, effects that are recognized as having a direct impact on wear processes. Hence, some researchers have questioned the validity of using bovine serum in simulator testing. This paper reviews the various lubricants used in laboratory wear studies and also the properties of the synovial fluid that the lubricant is trying to replicate. It is clear from the literature survey that the composition of bovine-serum-based lubricants does not match that of synovial fluid. In view of this conclusion, it is suggested that there is a need to develop an alternative lubricant that can replace bovine serum.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harsha AP, Joyce TJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine

Year: 2011

Volume: 225

Issue: H10

Pages: 948-958

Print publication date: 18/07/2011

ISSN (print): 0954-4119

ISSN (electronic): 2041-3033

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0954411911416047


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