The friction and wear characteristics of human hip joints were investigated using a pendulum-device and the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). The frictional phenomena of the joints oscillating under a variety of conditions were integrated with published data to provide a composite picture. As an accelerated “wear” model, joints were run “dry”, i.e., no fluid environment. This “wear” model was less severe than anticipated and subsequent damage involved only the superficial regions of the cartilage bearing material. The disruption occurred at sites where osteoarthritic damage has been detected clinically and progressed along the orientated fibrillar layers and was therefore oriented predominantly perpendicularly to joint motion.

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