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Biomaterials. 1999 Aug;20(16):1449-62.

Radiation and chemical crosslinking promote strain hardening behavior and molecular alignment in ultra high molecular weight polyethylene during multi-axial loading conditions.

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  • 1Exponent Failure Analysis Associates Inc., Philadelphia, PA 19103, USA. skurtz@exponent.com

Abstract

The mechanical behavior and evolution of crystalline morphology during large deformation of eight types of virgin and crosslinked ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) were studied using the small punch test and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). We investigated the hypothesis that both radiation and chemical crosslinking hinder molecular mobility at large deformations, and hence promote strain hardening and molecular alignment during the multiaxial loading of the small punch test. Chemical crosslinking of UHMWPE was performed using 0.25% dicumyl peroxide (GHR 8110, GUR 1020 and 1050), and radiation crosslinking was performed using 150 kGy of electron beam radiation (GUR 1150). Crosslinking increased the ultimate load at failure and decreased the ultimate displacement of the polyethylenes during the small punch test. Crosslinking also increased the near-ultimate hardening behavior of the polyethylenes. Transmission electron microscopy was used to characterize the crystalline morphology of the bulk material, undeformed regions of the small punch test specimens, and deformed regions of the specimens oriented perpendicular and parallel to the punch direction. In contrast with the virgin polyethylenes, which showed only subtle evidence of lamellar alignment, the crosslinked polyethylenes exhibited enhanced crystalline lamellae orientation after the small punch test, predominantly in the direction parallel to the punch direction or deformation axis. Thus, the results of this study support the hypothesis that crosslinking promotes strain hardening during multiaxial loading because of increased resistance to molecular mobility at large deformations effected by molecular alignment. The data also illustrate the sensitivity of large deformation mechanical behavior and crystalline morphology to the method of crosslinking and resin of polyethylene.

PMID:
10458558
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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