The ageing population has become more active and live longer, these patients require hip replacement surgery at a younger age. Artificial hip implants, consisting of the acetabular cup and femoral head, affect the lives of many people, and the longevity of these implants pose significant concerns (rarely longer than 17 years). To help understand the lubricating performance of such a system, a hip joint model was built based on the Reynolds equation; the model developed simulated hydrodynamic lubrication. A steady-state angular rotation model was built whereby it was concluded that such motion would not support any load due to the anti-symmetric nature of the resultant pressure distribution (anti-symmetric about the axis of rotation). The pressure distribution from the steady-state rotation simulation contained a pressure source and sink which converged to the centre of the cup and whose pressure value increased in magnitude, as the eccentricity ratio increased. Infeasible results were obtained when the intermediary pressure constraint, allowing only positive pressure values, was implemented. The results obtained were not representative of the problem and it is recommended that this constraint not be implemented. The transient walking cycle model showed that a fluid with viscosity of 0.0015Pa.s is not sufficient to support a load in the walking cycle under conditions representative of hydrodynamic lubrication. Increasing the fluid viscosity promoted better results in the hydrodynamic model. Increasing the femoral head radius and decreasing the radial clearance between the components also improves the possibility of hydrodynamic lubrication. It is recommended that the model should be extended to investigate elasto-hydrodynamic lubrication. If possible, the effects of a boundary lubrication model should be investigated, as it is believed to be a major contribution to the lubrication of hip joints.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2008.