Decades of research have been dedicated to understanding the corrosion mechanisms of metal based implanted prosthetics utilized in modern surgical procedures. Focused primarily on mechanically driven wear, current fretting and crevice corrosion investigations have yet to precisely replicate the complex chemical composition of corrosion products recovered from patients’ periprosthetic tissue. This work specifically targets the creation of corrosion products at the metal on metal junction utilized in modular hip prosthetics. Moreover, this manuscript serves as an initial investigation into the potential interaction between implanted CoCrMo metal alloy and low amplitude electrical oscillation, similar in magnitude to those which may develop from ambient electromagnetic radiation. It is believed that introduction of such an electrical oscillation may be able to initiate electrochemical reactions between the metal and surrounding fluid, forming the precursor to secondary wear particles, without mechanically eroding the metal’s natural passivation layer. Here, we show that a low magnitude electrical oscillation (≤ 200 mV) in the megahertz frequency (106 Hz) range is capable of initiating corrosion on implanted CoCrMo without the addition of mechanical wear. Specifically, a 50 MHz, 200 mVpp sine wave generates corrosion products comprising of Cr, P, Ca, O, and C, which is consistent with previous literature on the analysis of failed hip prosthetics. These findings demonstrate that mechanical wear may not be required to initiate the production of chemically complex corrosion products.
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