Wettability analysis of orthopaedic materials using optical contact angle methods

A. Salehi, S. Tsai, V. Pawar, J. Sprague, G. Hunter, S. Varma, F. Namavar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The wettability behavior of orthopaedic materials influences the fluid film layer that affects both the friction and wear of the articulating surfaces in total joint arthroplasty. This study examined the wettability of various orthopaedic bearing materials such as alumina, zirconia, cobalt chrome (CoCr), and oxidized zirconium (OxZr). Diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating on CoCr was also examined. Additionally, the effect of radius of curvature was examined using OxZr femoral heads of various diameters. The contact angle of the liquid droplet on the surface of the material was measured using a optical contact angle method. Both water and bovine serum with 20 g/L protein concentration were used during testing, with a droplet size of 0.25 μL. The droplet was dispensed from an automated syringe and brought into contact with the sample surface. The contact angle was then measured by fitting polynomial curves to the sample surface and drop geometry. Ten individual drops were analyzed on each test component, with at least three test components for each material. There were no differences in contact angles with changing head size or when using serum compared to water. The alumina, OxZr, and zirconia femoral heads all exhibited a similar contact angle, while CoCr and DLC showed significantly greater contact angles. The smaller contact angles for the oxide ceramic surfaces indicate that they tend to be more wettable than the metals, which may help explain their lower friction and superior adhesive wear performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1199-1202
Number of pages4
JournalKey Engineering Materials
Volume309-311 II
StatePublished - 2006


  • Alumina
  • Cobalt chrome
  • Oxidized zirconium
  • Wettability
  • Zirconia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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