The combination of ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) pads and zirconia joints has been used extensively in all artificial knee joints. The wear of UHMWPE is the leading cause of artificial joint failure. However, it is unlikely to detect UHMWPE damage until the patient feels pain. Therefore, developing a sensor to detect the wear of UHMWPE outside the human body is crucial. In this study, the surface of UHMWPE and zirconia was treated with low-temperature atmospheric plasma to increase the surface energy so that the lubricating fluid can be effectively adsorbed on the surface of the material. Furthermore, adding the appropriate proportion of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose with collagen produces good self-assembly behavior, which can reduce the UHMWPE wear and coefficient of friction (COF) by 50%. Therefore, the wear consumption of UHMWPE can be observed simply by sensing the changes in COF, which can be used as a life sensor for joint damage. At a distance of 9500 m continuous use, the COF increases by 17%, which means that the use of UHMWPE can be predicted by detecting the changes in COF. Finally, we proposed that the artificial knee joint’s service life can be detected by monitoring the variation in COF.
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