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The UHMWPE Oxidation Induced by Radiation

Dr. Luigi Costa, Professor
IFM Chemistry Department and NIS Centre of Excellence
University of Torino, Italy

Friday, February 29, 2008
3:30pm in Manning Hall room 201

Refreshements will be served at 3:00pm in Manning Hall room 201


The orthopedic ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) has been the material of choice for bearing components of total joint arthroplasty for the past 30 years. According to the ASTM regulation, the UHMWPE does not contain any stabiliser and therefore it can oxidise very easly. The UHMWPE prosthetic components must be sterilised. The EtO process does not modified the UHMWPE.

The irradiation process with high energy radiation as gamma radiation or e-beam produces, at the end of sterilization, an amount of macroradicals proportional to the absorbed dose and, in the presence of oxygen, the oxidation process start at low temperature. This process called post-irradiation oxidation, will be present with the new results of the Torino group.

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