Article Title

Improvements to UHMWPE

1st Student's Major

Mechanical and Civil Engineering

1st Student's College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Students' Professional Biography

I am from West Des Moines, IA, and I graduated from Valley High School in 2005. In May of 2010 I graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a BSME (bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering). Next fall I will start graduate school at the University of Iowa where I hope to get my masters degree in biomedical engineering. My main interests in that field of engineering are prosthetics and biomaterials.

Mentor's Name

Patrick Tebbe

Mentor's Email Address


Mentor's Department

Mechanical and Civil Engineering

Mentor's College

Science, Engineering and Technology


Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is a material used in artificial implants for articular joint replacements. However, these implants have a limited lifespan in which the patient will be pain-free due to the wear of the UHMWPE components. Recently crosslinking, or exposing the material to radiation, has been used to extend the wear resistance of UHMWPE. Crosslinking introduces another set of drawbacks; mainly the reduction of the fracture toughness of UHMWPE and the generation of free radicals, which leave the polymer vulnerable to damage from oxidation. Currently, research is being conducted on other methods to increase the wear resistance of UHMWPE including the introduction of filler particles into the polymer and lubrication or other cushioning methods that could make the implant more like a natural joint. This project is a review of the current research.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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