Prosthetic hip joint. View of the ball and socket parts of a prosthetic hip joint. The femoral head (spherical part) of this prosthetic joint is made from zirconium. It was machined into a sphere, then heated to form an outer coating of ceramic zirconia. This means that the part has the fracture resistance of a metal with the wear resistance of a ceramic, but can be manufactured at a lower cost than conventional titanium, cobalt alloy or solid ceramic items. The manufacturing process was developed by Smith & Nephew Richards, Tennessee, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, USA.
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