Experimental Biotribological Testing of Hydrogels and Articular Cartilage for Medical Engineering Applications
The complex nature of biological tribosystems requires test scenarios as close as possible to the real life conditions. The current work presents a tribological method for the characterization of frictional behavior of porcine articular cartilage and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogels, with the latter as a possible replacement material for cartilage. Extended Stribeck curve measurements and reciprocating sliding tests over a broad range of sliding speeds are carried out to measure the friction in static and dynamic friction regimes. PVA hydrogels are obtained by freeze-thaw (FT) technique (5 cycles from -20 °C to 8 °C). Viscoelastic properties of the PVA hydrogel are also characterized. Special adapters are used to accommodate the soft cartilage and PVA specimen. Results show, that the setup is suited to evaluate the tribological performance of an artificial cartilage system compared to real cartilage.
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