Assessment of non-contacting optical methods to measure wear and surface roughness in ceramic total disc replacements

Naomi C Green, James Bowen, David Wl Hukins, Duncan Et Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
476 Downloads (Pure)


This study presents a method for measuring the low volumetric wear expected in ceramic total disc replacements, which can be used to replace intervertebral discs in the spine, using non-contacting optical methods. Alumina-on-alumina ball-on-disc tests were conducted with test conditions approximating those of cervical (neck region of the spine) total disc replacement wear tests. The samples were then scanned using a three-dimensional non-contacting optical profilometer and the data used to measure surface roughness and develop a method for measuring the wear volume. The results showed that the magnification of the optical lens affected the accuracy of both the surface roughness and wear volume measurements. The method was able to successfully measure wear volumes of 0.0001 mm(3), which corresponds to a mass of 0.0001 mg, which would have been undetectable using the gravimetric method. A further advantage of this method is that with one scan the user can measure changes in surface topography, volumetric wear and the location of the wear on the implant surface. This method could also be applied to more severe wear, other types of orthopaedic implants and different materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-54
Number of pages10
JournalInstitution of Mechanical Engineers. Proceedings. Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

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© IMechE 2015.


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