This study was aimed at evaluating the effect of counterpart selection on the wear rate, and the surface and subsurface properties of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). The frictional and wear properties of an implant grade UHMWPE in contact with ASTM F 1537 cobalt-based alloy and ASTM F 138 316L stainless steel were characterized. The average contact angle measurements obtained for the 316L SS surfaces were statistically higher (C.I.=95%) than those measured for the Co-Cr-Mo alloy samples. The surface roughness of the metallic counterparts was not significantly altered during wear testing. UHMWPE sub-surface changes as well as wear rate were more pronounced with 316L SS counterparts.
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