Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical and Chemical Engineering


Jeremy L. Gilbert


316L stainless steel, fretting corrosion, medical devices, orthopedic, surface roughness

Subject Categories



The medical device industry is still seeking answers to the mechanically-assisted corrosion (MAC) problem, which becomes increasingly important due to modularity in design. MAC manifests in various forms, some of which are fretting corrosion, crevice corrosion and stress corrosion. Several studies have been conducted to understand the causes and the factors that affect fretting corrosion. Some of the factors are the applied load, surface potential, oxide film characteristics and solution chemistry near the interface. Surface properties such as surface roughness determine the topography of the surface and the nature of asperity-asperity contact, which is a factor that would determine the mechanically assisted corrosion behavior of the interface, like the stem-neck and head-neck taper junctions in modular hip replacement devices. This study aims to understand the correlation between surface roughness of 316L stainless steel samples and fretting corrosion behavior using a variable load pin-on-disc test. It was found that the smoother surfaces are associated with lower fretting currents. However, smoother surfaces also created the conditions for fretting initiated crevice corrosion to occur more readily. Fretting corrosion regimes and the severity are thus dependent upon the surface roughness. A possible explanation could be due to the inverse relationship between the interasperity distance parameter, Δ, and fretting currents. The coefficient of friction between the two surfaces in contact however remained unaffected by surface roughness, but decreased with increasing load. Smoother surfaces, while lowering fretting corrosion reactions can enhance crevice corrosion reactions in 316L stainless steel interfaces.


Open Access

Included in

Engineering Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.