Electrochemical response of CoCrMo to high-speed fracture of its metal oxide using an electrochemical scratch test method

Jay R. Goldberg, Jeremy L. Gilbert

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123 Scopus citations


A new test method was used to rapidly produce a controlled, repeatable scratch on the surface of CoCrMo (ASTM F75) samples, resulting in fracture of the surface oxide. Current transients resulting from ionic dissolution and repassivation of the exposed reactive alloy were measured with the samples potentiostatically held in phosphate-buffered saline. The effects of potential, contact load, pH, aeration, and proteins on the magnitude of the current transients and time constants for repassivation were determined. Using the scratch test apparatus, topographic images of scratched surfaces were constructed and used to measure scratch depth. Aeration had no significant effect on peak currents and time constants owing to the availability of oxygen from the hydrolysis of water. Peak current behavior reflected the transition regions observed in polarization curves. A decrease in peak currents in the presence of albumin may have been due to barrier effects of the adsorbed protein preventing water from reaching the sample surface, or lubrication resulting in less material removed from the surface during scratching. Peak currents and scratch depth increased with load. A model used to predict repassivation behavior was in agreement with experimental results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-431
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 5 1997


  • CoCrMo alloy
  • Corrosion
  • Oxide
  • Passivation
  • Scratch test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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