Hot Ice to Lubricate Artificial Joints

Sep 05, 2007
Hot Ice to Lubricate Artificial Joints
Water molecules (red and white) form orderly layers of ice on top of a layer of diamond (green) treated with sodium atoms (blue) in a simulation showing that such ice layers could persist well above body temperatures. Potentially, high temperature ice could make diamond coatings more suitable for implanted joints, heart valves, and other medical devices. Credit: Alexander D. Wissner-Gross and Efthimios Kaxiras, Physical Review E, August 2007

A recent simulation has shown that thin layers of ice could persist on specially treated diamond coatings at temperatures well above body temperature, which could make ice-coated-diamond films an ideal coating for artificial heart valves, joint replacements, and wear-resistant prosthetics.

Physicists Alexander D. Wissner-Gross and Efthimios Kaxiras of Harvard modeled water ice on top of a diamond surface coated with sodium ions. They found that ice layers should persist on the treated diamond up to temperatures of 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius), and in some circumstances could remain frozen beyond the boiling point of water.

Because of the gem's strength and other unusual characteristics, artificially grown diamond films are among the most promising candidates for applications ranging from medical implants to solar cells. Adding a layer of high-temperature ice could make the diamond even more suitable for medical devices by reducing its abrasiveness and inhibiting protein build-up.

Among other promising applications, the physicists believe that the ice layer could enhance the efficiency of diamond film-based solar collectors, while being much more environmentally friendly than lithium-ion batteries and other energy storage devices.

A short film that the researchers made from of some of their simulations was a finalist in the 2007 Materials Research Film Festival (www.alexwg.org/DiamondIce.mov). The work also earned Wissner-Gross the 2007 Dan David Prize Scholarship from Tel Aviv University and the 2007 Graduate Student Silver Award from the Materials Research Society.

Citation: Alexander D. Wissner-Gross and Efthimios Kaxiras, Physical Review E (August 2007)

Source: American Physical Society

Explore further: It's particle-hunting season! NYU scientists launch Higgs Hunters Project

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

LiquidPiston unveils quiet X Mini engine prototype

4 hours ago

LiquidPiston has a new X Mini engine which is a small 70 cubic centimeter gasoline powered "prototype. This is a quiet, four-stroke engine with near-zero vibration. The company said it can bring improvements ...

Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana

5 hours ago

The exclusive club of explorers who have discovered a rare new species of life isn't restricted to globetrotters traveling to remote locations like the Amazon rainforests, Madagascar or the woodlands of the ...

New terahertz device could strengthen security

5 hours ago

We are all familiar with the hassles that accompany air travel. We shuffle through long lines, remove our shoes, and carry liquids in regulation-sized tubes. And even after all the effort, we still wonder if these procedures ...

European space plane set for February launch

5 hours ago

Europe's first-ever "space plane" will be launched on February 11 next year, rocket firm Arianespace said Friday after a three-month delay to fine-tune the mission flight plan.

Recommended for you

Particles, waves and ants

13 hours ago

Animals looking for food or light waves moving through turbid media – astonishing similarities have now been found between completely different phenomena.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.