The objective of this study is to develop a theoretical model to simulate temperature fields in a joint simulator for various bearing conditions using finite element analyses. The frictional heat generation rate at the interface between a moving pin and a stationary base is modeled as a boundary heat source. Both the heat source and the pin are rotating on the base. We are able to conduct a theoretical study to show the feasibility of using the COMSOL software package to simulate heat transfer in a domain with moving components and a moving boundary source term. The finite element model for temperature changes agrees in general trends with experimental data. Heat conduction occurs primarily in the highly conductive base component, and high temperature elevation is confined to the vicinity of the interface in the pin. Thirty rotations of a polyethylene pin on a cobalt-chrome base for 60 s generate more than 2.26 °C in the temperature elevation from its initial temperature of 25 °C at the interface in a baseline model with a rotation frequency of 0.5 Hz. A higher heat generation rate is the direct result of a faster rotation frequency associated with intensity of exercise, and it results in doubling the temperature elevations when the frequency is increased by100%. Temperature elevations of more than 7.5 °C occur at the interface when the friction force is tripled from that in the baseline model. The theoretical modeling approach developed in this study can be used in the future to test different materials, different material compositions, and different heat generation rates at the interface under various body and environmental conditions.

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