A novel apparatus has been developed for the investigation of fretting-corrosion behaviour of metallic materials used in prosthetic implants. Well-defined micro-movements are achieved through a rigid overall structure and the precise alignment of the components. An electrochemical cell is used for controlling the surface chemistry of the metal in contact and for studying the role of anodic oxidation. During an experiment, the most relevant mechanical and electrochemical parameters are continuously monitored using a computer-based data acquisition system. The apparatus permits, thus, in vitro experiments under well-controlled mechanical and electrochemical conditions. The good time resolution and reproducibility of the measurements permit the observation of correlations between different mechanical and electrochemical quantities. Preliminary results show that the prevailing corrosion conditions critically affect the overall fretting behaviour of Ti6Al4V. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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