Crack-growth of medical-grade silicone using pure shear tests

Laura Leslie, Stephen Kukureka, Duncan Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Silicone elastomers are commonly used in the manufacture of single-piece joint replacement implants for the finger joints. However, the survivorship of these implants can be poor, with failure typically occurring from fracture of the stems. The aim of this paper was to investigate the crack growth of medical-grade silicone using pure shear tests. Two medical-grade silicones (C6-180 and Med82-5010-80) were tested. Each sample had a 20 mm crack introduced and was subjected to a sinusoidally varying tensile strain, with a minimum of 0 per cent and a maximum in the range 10 to 77 per cent. Testing was undertaken at a frequency of 10 Hz. At various times during testing, the testing machine was stopped, the number of cycles completed was noted, and the crack length measured. Graphs of crack length against number of cycles were plotted, as well as the crack growth rate against tearing energy. The results show that Med82-5010-80 is more crack resistant than C6-180. Graphs of crack growth rate against tearing energy can be used to predict the failure of these medical-grade elastomers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-982
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008


  • crack growth
  • finger
  • implant
  • mechanical testing
  • medical-grade
  • silicone


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