More durable implants by coatings with capillary texture

IW researchers develop an improved ceramic coating. (Photo: Monstar Studio -

IW | Abrasive wear in joint protheses can induce inflammatory reactions and bone resorption. Researchers want to improve the frictional properties using human synovial fluid. The fluid’s distribution in the joints is improved when using a ceramic coating with capillary texture.

Arthrosis in hip and knee joints belongs to the most common diseases in industrialized countries. However, helping joint protheses often last no longer than 15 years, because microscopically small abrasive particles may cause inflammations or rejection reactions. Therefore, researchers of the Institute of Materials Science (IW), the Institute of Measurement and Automatic Control (IMR) and the Institute for Multiphase Processes (IMP) have developed a coating system that actively lubricates the friction surface and thus increases the durability of implants.

The wear-resistant ceramic coating is designed as a porous texture, allowing the synovial fluid to pass into the lubrification gap. Moreover, a capillary system is integrated into the ceramic coating that allows for an optimum distribution of the human synovial fluid. This is done by applying magnesium strips to the substrate that are etched away after the ceramic coating process.

by Manuel Rodriguez Diaz

Image gallery for this article

  • IW researchers develop an improved ceramic coating. (Photo: Monstar Studio -
  • Capillary tests in an aluminium oxide layer. (Photo: IW)
  • Laser intensity in an aluminium oxide layer with capillary texture. (Photo: IMR)
  • Y-ray image makes the capillary structure visible. (Photo: IW / Zeiss)
  • The porous and capillary structure can be shown using high-contrast X-ray microscopy. (Photo: IW / Zeiss)
This website uses cookies to provide you with the best possible functionality. You agree to the use of cookies by using our website without changing your preferences. (Data Protection)