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A femoral knee implant was returned to the casting vendor for analysis after exhibiting poor bond strength between the cast substrate and a sintered porous coating. Both the coating and the substrate were manufactured from a cobalt-chromium-molybdenum alloy. Metallographic analysis indicated that a decarburized layer existed on all surfaces of the casting, which prevented bonding during the sintering thermal cycle. Bead-to-bead bonding within the coating appeared sufficient, and no decarburized layer was present on the bead surfaces. It was concluded that the decarburization did not occur during the sintering thermal cycle. It was recommended that the prosthetic manufacturer investigate atmosphere controls for all thermal cycles prior to coating.

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Mark Lisin, Robert R. Peterson, Failure of the Bond Between a Cobalt Alloy Prosthetic Casting and a Sintered Porous Coating, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 1, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1992, p 449–451,

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