Effect of lubricants on friction in laboratory tests of a total disc replacement device

Parshia Moghadas, Aziza Mahomed, David Wl Hukins, Duncan Et Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
502 Downloads (Pure)


Some designs of total disc replacement devices have articulating bearing surfaces, and these devices are tested in vitro with a lubricant of diluted calf serum. It is believed that the lubricant found in total disc replacement devices in vivo is interstitial fluid that may have properties between that in Ringer's solution and diluted calf serum. To investigate the effect of lubricants, a set of friction tests were performed on a generic model of a metal against metal ball-and-socket total disc replacement device. Two devices were tested: one with a ball radius of 10 mm and other with a ball radius of 16 mm; each device had a radial clearance of 0.015 mm. A spine simulator was used to measure frictional torque for each device in axial rotation, flexion-extension and lateral bending at frequencies of 0.25-2 Hz, under 1200 N axial load. Each device was tested with two different lubricants: a solution of new born calf serum diluted with deionised water and Ringer's solution. The results showed that the frictional torque generated between the bearing surfaces was significantly higher in Ringer's solution than in diluted calf serum. The use of Ringer's solution as a lubricant provides a stringent test condition to detect possible problems. Diluted calf serum is more likely to provide an environment closer to that in vivo. However, the precise properties of the fluid lubricating a total disc replacement device are not known; hence, tests using diluted calf serum may not necessarily give the same results as those obtained in vivo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)988-93
Number of pages6
JournalInstitution of Mechanical Engineers. Proceedings. Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


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