Challenge of the Week / Hip / 07.03.20

The addition of vitamin E to polyethylene has shown promise in total hip arthroplasty. Which of the following is the main purpose of adding vitamin E to polyethylene?
  • Stabilize free radicals and prevent oxidative degradation
  • By stabilizing free radicals, vitamin E has been shown to prevent oxidative degradation and increase mechanical strength.

  • Eliminate the need for irradiation
  • Vitamin E does not eliminate the need for irradiation of polyethylene because it does not contribute to cross-linking.

  • Provide increased structural stability between polyethylene chains
  • Vitamin E acts to decrease free radicals. It does not provide increased structural stability between polyethylene chains.

  • Lower the annealing temperature to facilitate ease of production
  • Vitamin E has no effect on the annealing temperature, but one could argue that by helping stabilize free radicals it enables one to chose annealing as a processing method instead of remelting as a way to preserve mechanical properties. The purpose of adding vitamin E to polyethylene, however, is to stabilize free radicals.

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