© 2017 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 36:1164–1172, 2018.

The seating mechanics of head‐neck modular tapers in vitro: Load‐displacement measurements, moisture, and rate effects

Eric S. Ouellette Aarti A. Shenoy Jeremy L. Gilbert
Ankle Elbow Hip Knee Shoulder Wrist

The mechanically assisted crevice corrosion performance of head‐neck modular tapers is a significant concern in orthopedic biomaterials. Fretting crevice corrosion processes in modular tapers are thought to be influenced by a wide array of factors including seating mechanics of the junction, hence there is a need for in vitro test methods that can assess their performance. This study presented a test method to directly measure the load‐displacement seating mechanics of modular tapers and used this method to compare the seating mechanics for different tapers, moisture, seating loads and seating rates. Seating mechanics were explored whereby the instantaneous load‐displacement behavior of the head seating onto the neck is captured and used to define the mechanics of seating. Two distinct taper design/material combinations were assembled wet or dry using axially applied loads (500, 1,000, 2,000, and 4,000 N) at two loading rates of 100 and 104 N/s (n = 5 for each condition) using a servohydraulic test frame. The results showed that pull‐off strength scaled with seating load and ranged between 43% and 68% of seating load depending on sample and wetness. Tapers seated wet had higher pull‐off strengths (2,200 ± 300 N) than those seated dry (1,800 ± 200 N, p < 0.05). Seating mechanics (load‐displacement plots) varied due to sample type and due to wetness with differences in seating energy, seating stiffness, and seating displacement. These results show the detailed mechanics of seating during assembly and provide significant insight into the complex interplay of factors associated with even “ideal” seating (axial, quasistatic) loading.

Download article