Medical-grade Ultra-high Molecular Weight Polyethylene: Past, Current, and Future

Fedra Parnian Zaribaf

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (SciVal)
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Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene is a semi-crystalline polymer (45–60%) with six decades of orthopaedic applications. This polymer has a high fracture toughness (30 kJ m −2) which comes from the molecular weight and the chain entanglements. Adverse alteration of the properties may lead to the part's pre-mature failure. This paper reviews the current manufacturing methods, and their effect on the properties of the polymer. The review also focused on the attempts of enhancing the polymer properties. The main cause of failure is implant loosing owing to the polymeric wear particles. Many manufacturers have attempted to enhance the wear and oxidation properties of the polymer, and the outcome of the new technologies is critically reviewed. Finally, the review explores the potential for future developments. This review was submitted as part of the 2018 Materials Literature Review Prize of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining run by the Editorial Board of MST. Sponsorship of the prize by TWI Ltd is gratefully acknowledged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1940-1953
Number of pages14
JournalMaterials Science and Technology
Issue number16
Early online date9 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene
  • cross-linking
  • crystallinity
  • packaging
  • radiopaque
  • sterilisation
  • vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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