PhD Tesis (2018)
The use of modular neck adapter when placing a total hip prosthesis introduces a new interface, between the femoral stem and the neck adapter, which is propitious to fretting damage during walking. Ti–6Al–4V alloy has been widely used in neck adapters and femoral stems. However, the Ti–6Al–4V / Ti–6Al–4V contacts present high friction and severe adhesive wear under fretting conditions. Diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings have been widely used as protective coatings for metallic parts. Thus, they can be introduced into Ti–6Al–4V neck adapter / Ti–6Al–4V femoral stem contacts.The objective of this thesis is to investigate the tribological behaviors of DLC coating and Ti–6Al–4V alloy under fretting conditions for application to neck adapter / femoral stem contact. Fretting tests are conducted with a cylinder / flat contact under different values of displacement amplitude (±20 µm, ±40 µm, and ±70 µm) and normal force (between 200 N and 1 200 N). Furthermore, the effects of different DLC coatings (DLC A and DLC B), different surface roughness (smooth and rough), different coating positions (coating on the flat, on the cylinder, and on both surfaces), different environments (laboratory air and calf serum) are analyzed. Besides, the origin of low friction of Ti–6Al–4V / DLC coating contact is explored. The mechanical properties of tribofilm formed on the rubbed Ti–6Al–4V surface is studied.For fretting tests without coating (Ti–6Al–4V / Ti–6Al–4V contact) under laboratory air condition, the friction coefficient is high, between 0.8 and 1.2. The wear volume increases with the displacement amplitude. For fretting tests with coating, Ti–6Al–4V can be well protected under relatively low load conditions. The friction coefficient is low (around 0.2) and the wear volume is small. Under high load conditions, the coating is almost totally removed. The friction and wear volume are similar to tests without coating. The harder coating (DLC A) has better tribological property than DLC B. The coating on the smooth surface exhibits better fretting performance than on the rough surface. Coating on a cylindrical surface shows better tribological performance than on a flat surface. The DLC coating is damaged more severely when it slides against a DLC coating than against the uncoated Ti–6Al–4V alloy. The coating performs better under the serum condition than under the laboratory air condition. A tribofilm is formed on the rubbed Ti–6Al–4V surface when sliding against a DLC coating under low load conditions. The tribofilm shows higher hardness, higher Young’s modulus, higher compression modulus, higher yield strength than the Ti–6Al–4V alloy. A tribological model is proposed for tribofilm formation and explanation of origin of low friction, by in-depth analysis of contact surfaces, on mechanical and chemical points of view.