Fabrication and evaluation of SixNy coatings for total joint replacements
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Wear particles from the bearing surfaces of joint implants are one of the main limiting factors for total implant longevity. Si(3)N(4) is a potential wear resistant alternative for total joint replacements. In this study, Si(x)N(y)-coatings were deposited on cobalt chromium-discs and Si-wafers by a physical vapour deposition process. The tribological properties, as well as surface appearance, chemical composition, phase composition, structure and hardness of these coatings were analysed. The coatings were found to be amorphous or nanocrystalline, with a hardness and coefficient of friction against Si(3)N(4) similar to that found for bulk Si(3)N(4). The low wear rate of the coatings indicates that they have a potential as bearing surfaces of joint replacements. The adhesion to the substrates remains to be improved.
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