Hydrogel Tribology with MCR Tribometers
Hydrogels are promising materials for many applications in medical engineering. They can be used to replace human tissue such as articular cartilage. Depending on the recipe and process applied, hydrogels with specific mechanical or chemical properties can be manufactured. It is also possible to design hydrogels with specific frictional characteristics, which can be determined through tribological testing.
Biomaterials and bio-inspired materials are gaining increasing importance in the fields of biomedical engineering. Hydrogels, for example, are promising for artificial tissues such as cartilage replacement, and also for coating medical devices. Different materials and different processes such as electrospinning[3, 4], 3D printing, etc., can be used to obtain hydrogels. Building up a network within the hydrogel matrix is achieved by different mechanisms such as UV curing or freeze-thaw technique[6, 7].
During their use in the human body or during medical interventions, hydrogels are subjected to tribological stresses. The dynamics of biomaterials under load are rather complex and may influence the performance in real world conditions. Hence, it is essential to know about the tribological behavior of tribosystems comprised of hydrogels. Within this report, a methodology is presented for running tribological measurements with hydrogels on an MCR Tribometer.
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