• P-ISSN 0974-6846 E-ISSN 0974-5645

Indian Journal of Science and Technology


Indian Journal of Science and Technology

Year: 2023, Volume: 16, Issue: 40, Pages: 3491-3501

Original Article

Effect of Cryogenic Treatment on Tribological and Surface Properties of 3D Printed Thermoplastic Polyurethane

Received Date:12 August 2023, Accepted Date:04 September 2023, Published Date:27 October 2023


Objective: Investigating the effects of Deep Cryogenic Treatment (DCT) on the mass wear of 3D printed Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) for application in knee spacers. Methods: Extrusion Temperature (ET), Print Speed (PS), Layer Thickness (LT), and Raster Orientation (RO), were the parameters used in this study. The mass wear of untreated and DCT TPU was obtained. The surface images were obtained through a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and analyzed in the Gwyddion AFM software to investigate the surface texture, waviness, and roughness of the untreated and treated TPU. Findings: DCT decreased mass wear in 3D-printed TPU specimens. A higher ET (250 °C) yielded superior mass wear performance - conversely, higher PS elevated mass wear, with an optimal print speed of 15 mm/s. The most negligible mass wear was observed at 0.1 mm LT. The angle of RO exhibited significance with a 45°/135° RO orientation. Notably, PS demonstrated the most significant influence on mass wear for untreated TPU (61.11%), while for treated TPU, ET exerted the most substantial impact (90.61%). These insights were validated through analysis of variance (ANOVA) and regression modeling, indicating the robustness of the findings. Novelty: To date, injection-molded ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is deployed for knee spacers. However, its rapid wear, time-consuming, and expensive fabrication techniques are a significant concern in total knee replacement surgeries. For the first time, this study combined 3D printing and deep cryogenic treatment to fabricate and characterize the tribological performance of biocompatible TPU for its potential application in knee spacers. This novel approach involved cryogenically treating the 3D-printed TPU wear specimens, which displayed superior wear performance to injection-molded UHMWPE. This affirmed the suitability of the combined 3D printing and cryogenic treatment for TPU as a potential alternative to the current methods and material for knee spacer applications.

Keywords: 3D Printing, Deep Cryogenic Treatment, Thermoplastic Polyurethane, Mass Wear, Surface Characterization


  1. Veer P, Pabla BS, Madan J, Chidambaranathan VS. Fused deposition modeling in knee arthroplasty: review with the current and novel materials. In: KRK, VSC, SR., eds. Mechanical Properties and Characterization of Additively Manufactured Materials. (Vol. 2023, pp. 211-235) CRC Press. 2023.
  2. Zhang M, Wang JYY, Su J, Wang JJY, Yan STT, Luan YCC, et al. Wear Assessment of Tibial Inserts Made of Highly Cross-Linked Polyethylene Supplemented with Dodecyl Gallate in the Total Knee Arthroplasty. Polymers. 2021;13(11):1847. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13111847
  3. Bistolfi A, Giustra F, Bosco F, Sabatini L, Aprato A, Bracco P, et al. Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) for hip and knee arthroplasty: The present and the future. Journal of Orthopaedics. 2021;25:98–106. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jor.2021.04.004
  4. Chen D, Li J, Yuan Y, Gao C, Cui Y, Li S. A Review of the Polymer for Cryogenic Application: Methods, Mechanisms and Perspectives. 2021. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3390/polym1303
  5. Veer P, Vettivel SC, Madan J, Pabla BS. Biocompatibility characterization of cryogenically treated FDM printed thermoplastic polyurethane. Materials Today: Proceedings. 2023. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matpr.2023.09.049
  6. Singh G, Pandey KN. Effect of cryogenic treatment on properties of materials: A review. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part E: Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering. 2022;236(4):1758–1773. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/09544089221090189
  7. Vinod B, Sudev LJ. Effect of cryogenic treatment on mechanical behavior of PALF reinforced polymer composite. Materials Today: Proceedings. 2022;64:330–337. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matpr.2022.04.692
  8. Chopra S, Deshmukh KA, Somvanshi MV, Patil NV, Rakhe SR, Sontakke RV, et al. Structural Elucidation and Mechanical Behavior of Cryogenically Treated Ultra-High Molecular Weight Poly-ethylene (UHMWPE) Transactions of the Indian Institute of Metals. 2021;74(2):255–265. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12666-020-02140-2
  9. Kasmi S, Ginoux G, Labbé E, Alix S. Multi-physics properties of thermoplastic polyurethane at various fused filament fabrication parameters. Rapid Prototyping Journal. 2022;28(5):895–906. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-08-2021-0214
  10. Magri AE, Mabrouk KE, Vaudreuil S, Chibane H, Touhami ME. Optimization of printing parameters for improvement of mechanical and thermal performances of 3D printed poly(ether ether ketone) parts. Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 2020;137(37). Available from: https://doi.org/10.1002/app.49087


© 2023 Veer et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Published By Indian Society for Education and Environment (iSee)


Subscribe now for latest articles and news.