Characteristic modeling of the wear particle formation process from a tribological testing of polyethylene with controlled surface asperities

Hsu Wei Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


To study the ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) wear particles-induced osteolysis which leads to the failure of artificial joints, microfabricated surfaces with controlled asperities have been applied to generate narrowly distributed UHMWPE wear particles with various sizes and shapes. Our previous study further facilitated single wedge sliding tests to investigate the mechanism of the UHMWPE particle generation. In this study, the attempt was made to characterize the particle generation process into a mathematical model to predict particle volume with a given surface-texture dimensions and mechanical loading conditions. The particle-generation process is decomposed into two steps: (1) penetration of the cutting edge, and (2) lateral sliding of the cutting edge. By combining the indentation experimental data, the viscoelastic responses of UHMWPE was incorporated in the model. The effects of normal load, feature height, and cutting edge angle on the wear particle volume were illustrated from model predictions. Both experimental results and model predictions indicate the same trend of effects of surface-texture geometry and mechanical conditions on the volume of particles. The results of the model predictions are close to the experimental results of the particle generation. However, the particle volume predicted by the model is larger than the experimental results. It is believed that the reprocessing of the generated particles and viscoelastic recovery of UHMWPE in the experiments account for this difference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-594
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 5 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Controlled asperities
  • Modeling
  • Surface texture
  • Viscoelasticity
  • Wear particles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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