A homocomposite consisting of an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) matrix and an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene reinforcing phase is introduced. While the chemical compositions of the bulk and fibers are the same, the fibers have a higher strength and a higher melting temperature due to their high degree of molecular orientation. The homocomposite was manufactured by compression molding of randomly oriented fibers and UHMWPE resin in a mold. The molding temperature was chosen to be slightly higher than the melting temperature of the matrix but below that of the fibers. Mechanical properties of the homocomposite such as the elastic modulus, and tensile strength are improved when compared with the properties of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. The homocomposite also exhibits a lower friction coefficient and a significantly higher wear resistance in dry sliding which are desirable properties in bearing applications. Due to the biocompatibility of polyethylene, the homocomposite may be acceptable as a bearing material in joint prostheses pending exhibiting improved tribological behavior in lubricated and simulated wear testing.
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