School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
This paper presents a theoretical analysis of the maximum contact stress and the lubrication regimes for PEEK (Polyether-ether-ketone) based self-mating cervical total disc arthroplasty. The NuNec® cervical disc arthroplasty system was chosen as the study object, which was then analytically modelled as a ball on socket joint. A non-adhesion Hertzian contact model and elastohydrodynamic lubrication theory were used to predict the maximum contact stress and the minimum film thickness, respectively. The peak contact stress and the minimum film thickness between the bearing surfaces were then determined, as the radial clearance or lubricant was varied. The obtained results show that under 150 N loading, the peak contact stress was in the range 5.9 – 32.1 MPa, well below the yield and fatigue strength of PEEK; the calculated minimum film thickness ranged from 0 to 0.042 µm and the corresponding lambda ratio range was from 0 to 0.052. This indicates that the PEEK based cervical disc arthroplasty will operate under a boundary lubrication regime, within the natural angular velocity range of the cervical spine.
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