Tribology and Crystallinity in pivot bearings of Ventricular Assist Devices

Marquiori DS, Florentino PC, Araki SY, Fujita IK, Basso R, Babetto A, Bonse B, Moro J, Leão TF, Andrade AJP, Bock EGP

Ventricular Assist Devices are blood pumps used in patients with Congestive Heart Failure who are waiting for a heart transplant. They aim to assist the ventricle to pump out blood in physiological circulation by increasing aortic pressure and decreasing intraventricular pressure. The IFSP Laboratory of Bioengineering and Biomaterials (BIOENG) has been developing an Implantable Centrifugal Blood Pump called CARoL for mechanical circulatory support. The objective of this dissertation is to evaluate the changes in the crystallinity of the polymeric Pivot Bearings supporting the impeller of this pump when subjected to friction generated by rotation of zirconia oxide ceramic shafts. The adopted methodology consisted of submitting new and used samples of: a) bearings set made of polyamide 6; and b) the set made of poly-ether-ether-ketone. Those new and used samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction tests and Infrared Spectroscopy. The diffractograms and spectra obtained were compared to evaluate the bearing crystallinity, for both polymers before and after friction. The tests carried out showed diffractograms and similar spectra for the new and used samples, thus, there are indications that the friction generated by the rotation of the shafts did not change the crystallinity of the polymeric bearings supporting the pump rotor.