Applicability of PEEK and Its Composites in Total Ankle Replacement Devices and Wear Rate Predictions

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PEEK and carbon fiber reinforced PEEK (CFR-PEEK) materials have emerged as leading highperformance materials for replacing metal components in orthopedic devices. In this study these materials were critically evaluated as main load bearing components in total ankle replacement (TAR) devices. Wear characterization was determined by conducting finite element analysis on second generation Wright State University (WSU) TAR devices. Maximum von Mises stress value of 25.06 MPa was obtained for the optimized model with CFR-PEEK/UHMWPEas tibial/talar and bearing components, which is comparable with stress value of 26.85 MPa obtained for Ti-6Al-4V/ UHMWPEmaterial model. A similar trend was observed for contact stress values as well, where an average contact stress value of 6.61 MPa was obtained for CFR-PEEK/UHMWPEmodel which corresponds to a wear rate of 0.03 (mm3 yr−1). Based on the obtained stress and wear results, and in the absence of PEEK debris causing osteolysis data, CFR-PEEK was recommended as a potential alternative to Titanium alloy in TAR devices. Further wear simulator testing is necessary to accurately determine the wear behavior of TAR models.