Total hip replacements (THR) are becoming an common orthopedic surgucal procedure in the United States (332 K/year in 2017) to relieve pain and improve the mobility of those that are affected by osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, or injury. However, complications like tribocorrosion, or material degradation due to friction and corrosion, may result in THR failure. Unfortunately, few strategies to non-invasively diagnose early-stage complications are reported in literature, leading to implant complications being detected after irreversible damage. Therefore, the main objective of this study proposes the utilization of acoustic emission (AE) to continuously monitor implant materials, CoCrMo and Ti6Al4V, and identify degradations formed during cycles of sleeping, standing, and walking by correlating them to potential and friction coefficient behavior. AE activity detected from the study correlates with the friction coefficient and open-circuit potential observed during recreated in-vitro standing, walking, and sleeping cycles. It was found that the absolute energy level obtained from AE increased as the friction coefficient increased, potential decreased, and wear volume loss increased. Through the results, higher friction coefficient and AE activity were observed in Ti6Al4V alloys while there was also a significant drop in potential, indicating increased tribocorrosion activity. Therefore, AE can be utilized to predict material degradations as a non-invasive method based on the severity of abnormality of the absolute energy and hits emitted. The correlation between potential, friction coefficient, and AE activity was further confirmed through profilometry which showed more material degradation in Ti6Al4V than CoCrMo. Through these evaluations, it was demonstrated that AE could be utilized to identify the deformations and failure modes of implant materials caused by tribocorrosion.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Ltd.