Research on Biomedical Engineering
Research on Biomedical Engineering
Original Article

Fretting corrosion tests on orthopedic plates and screws made of ASTM F138 stainless steel

Santos, Claudio Teodoro dos; Barbosa, Cássio; Monteiro, Maurício de Jesus; Abud, Ibrahim de Cerqueira; Caminha, Ieda Maria Vieira; Roesler, Carlos Rodrigo de Mello

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Introduction: Although there has been significant progress in the design of implants for osteosynthesis, the occurrence of failures in these medical devices are still frequent. These implants are prone to suffer from fretting corrosion due to micromotion that takes place between the screw heads and plate holes. Consequently, fretting corrosion has been the subject of research in order to understand its influence on the structural integrity of osteosynthesis implants. The aim of this paper is to correlate the surface finish characteristics of bone plate‑screw systems with fretting corrosion. Methods: The surface finish (machined and polished) of five specimens taken from three commercial dynamic compression plates (DCP) were evaluated. For testing, the specimens were fixed with bone screws, immersed in a solution of 0.90% NaCl and subjected to a rocking motion with an amplitude of 1.70 mm and frequency of 1.0 Hz for 1.0 × 106 cycles, according to the ASTM F897 standard. Both, plate and screws were manufactured in Brazil with ASTM F138 stainless steel. Results: Flaws on the hole countersink area and on the screw thread of some specimens were identified stereoscopically. At the end of the test all the specimens showed evidence of fretting corrosion with an average metal loss of 4.80 mg/million cycles. Conclusion: An inadequate surface finish in some areas of the plates and screws may have favored the incidence of damage to the passive film, accelerating the fretting corrosion at the interfaces between the plate hole countersink and the screw head.


Osteosynthesis, DCP, Bone plate, Screw, Fretting corrosion, Stainless steel.


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