Biomedical applications: Tribology and frictional behavior

Knowing the coefficient of friction (CoF) is important with newly developed implants for improving everyday comfort, decreasing pain and increasing lifetime. Many implants are in movements during daily locomotion and it is therefore important to simulate their in-vivo friction conditions during the development. Using a tribometer, the coefficient of friction can easily be measured under different conditions (load, environment, sliding speed, etc.). Tribometer can also be used for determination of wear resistance of implants and it is therefore an excellent tool for complete tribological characterization of biomaterials.

The development of new materials and applications for implants and prostheses requires new methods of characterizing their mechanical properties. As mentioned in other application reports on mechanical testing of biomaterials, many of experimental methods must investigate properties locally. In the case of tribology, the contacting areas are slightly larger but in some cases (contact lenses, hair) these can remain still quite small. This report gives several examples of using of tribological techniques for characterization of frictional behavior of biomaterials as well as of biological materials. This topic is often completed by indentation and scratch testing, which has been covered in other application reports.

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