Materials Science And Engineering Engineering Essay

In the country of stuffs scientific discipline and technology, corrosion of biomaterials is of paramount importance as biomaterials are required for the endurance of the human existences enduring from acute arthritis, osteoporosis and other joint complications. This term paper discusses assorted issues associated with biological corrosion of different sorts of implants used as orthopedic and dental implants. Since, the stuffs used for these implants are multiplex get downing from metallic stuffs such as chromium steel steel ( SS ) , cobalt Cr, Ti and its metals, polymers etc. are in changeless contact with the aggressive organic structure fluid, they frequently fail and eventually fracture due to corrosion. The corrosion behavior of assorted implants and the function of the surface oxide movie and the corrosion merchandises on the failure of implants are discussed. Surface alteration of implants, which is considered to be the best solution to battle corrosion and to heighten the life span of the implants and length of service of the human existences, is dealt.


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Failure is one of the most of import facets of implant stuffs behaviour. It straight influences the pick of stuffs and production methods in fabrication. Analysing implant failures is intricate due to the engagement of many standards. Despite the best attempts taken during the design, material choice, installing, operation, and machining, constituents fail. Even though merely a minor part of implants fail, presence of big figure of implants in day-to-day life makes failure analysis an highly of import subject. Finding the major causes of failure will assist in garnering information for bettering design and the operating processs, which will so ease a better use of constituents. Failure of implant constituents can be caused by several factors such as: nidation mistakes ; design mistakes, including incorrect choice of stuffs ; corrosion ; weariness ; and have on [ 1 ] . Among these causes, the hazard of stuffs neglecting due to corrosion is higher because of the unfavorable scene within the human organic structure [ 2 ] . This paper analysis the assorted orthopedic and dental implant failures caused by corrosion of biomaterials and offers solutions for forestalling it.


With the handiness of better engineering coupled with promotions in the cognition on stuffs every bit good as on surgical processs has increased the use of biomedical implants in the field of dental medicine, orthopedicss, cardiovascular surgery, plastic and rehabilitative surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology etc. [ 3 ] . The different applications of implantology possible today are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Biomaterials for human application.

( Adapted from Biomedical Implants: Corrosion and its Prevention – A Review by Geetha, M. , Durgalakshmi, D. , & A ; Asokamani, R. ( 2010 ) [ 3 ] )

Assorted categories of stuffs such as metals, metals, polymers ceramics and complexs have been widely used to manufacture the bio-implants [ 3 ] . For the stuff to be biocompatible, they must fulfill the undermentioned status: first and foremost, they must non damage the organic structure and must prolong minimum harm from the organic structure, this is a biological standard. Then they must fulfill the needed physical, chemical and mechanical belongingss such as supplying the needed strength, particularly high fatigue strength and stamina, for articulations and other applications. Furthermore, the cost factor should besides be taken attention of. Thus, the bosom of a biomaterial is an economic implant with the mechanical, physical, and chemical belongingss that provide structural capableness without hurtful effects on the organic structure [ 1 ] .

Among the assorted biomaterials, two polymers which are extensively used in orthopedic implants are: ultra-high molecular weight polythene ( UHMWPE ) and polymethyl methacrylate ( PMMA ) . UHMWPE is used for bearings and PMMA is used as a grouting to ‘cement ‘ implants into castanetss [ 4 ] . The other category of stuff, ceramics besides are used for bearing surfaces and as coatings to raise merger with host tissues [ 5 ] . The most widely used category of stuffs in biomedical implants are the metals. Among them, the most normally used metal and metal metals are chromium Co metals, chromium steel steel ( 316L ) , and Ti and its metal. The I±+I?-type Ti metal, such as Ti6Al4V, has been most widely used as an implant stuff for unreal hip articulations and dental implants due to its high strength and first-class corrosion opposition [ 1 ; 6 ] .


Harmonizing to ISO 10271:2001, the definition of corrosion is ‘physicochemical interaction between a metal or an metal and its environment that consequences in a partial or entire devastation of the stuff or in a alteration of its belongingss ‘ [ 7 ] . Corrosion changes the chemical environment around the implant, bring oning an acidic pH and therefore increasing the likeliness of corrosion [ 8 ] .

Although most of the carefully chosen biomaterials which satisfy the standards of biocompatibility are extremely corrosion resistant, big figure of chemical reactions taking topographic point within the human organic structure produce copiousness of oxidising agents [ 9 ] . It includes blood and other organic structure unstable components such as H2O, Na, Cl, aminic acids in saliva [ 10 ] . This creates an unfriendly environment for metals and other stuffs, which can do even the most corrosion-resistant stuff to undergo corrosion up to a certain degree [ 11 ] .


Factors finding corrosion

The two physical features which determine implant corrosion are: the thermodynamic forces which correspond to the energy required or released during a reaction [ 12 ] . It causes corrosion either by oxidization or decrease reaction. The 2nd factor is the kinetic barrier which is the good known procedure of formation of the surface oxide movie on a metal surface, which in bend impedes farther corrosion reactions [ 13 ] . However, merely those metals, which have the capacity to organize a protective oxide bed against corrosion, can be used in orthopedic implants. In order to restrict oxidization, inactive movies must hold certain features. They must be non – porous and must to the full cover the metal surface ; they must hold an atomic construction that limits the migration of ions and negatrons across the metal oxide – solution interface ; and they must be able to stay on the surface of the stuff even with mechanical stressing or scratch, which can be expected in association with orthopedic devices [ 12 ] .

Corrosion susceptibleness of Materials

Materials can be judged as whether corrosion resistant or non based on 4 standards. They are:

Ease to be oxidized, strong attachment of formed oxide to the substrate, dense of formed oxide, and protectiveness of formed oxide.

The Pilling -Bedworth ( P-B ) ratio is the really simple indicant to judge whether the formed oxide is protective or non [ 14 ] . If P-B ratio is less than 1, since oxide occupies little volume than the metal, so that formed oxide is porous and non-protective. If it is larger than 2, since oxide occupies a big volume and may flake from the surface, exposing fresh substrate surface and once more exhibits non-protectiveness. If P-B ration is between 1 and 2, the volume of oxide is similar to that of metal, so that the formed oxide is adherent to substrate, nonporous, and protective.

The most common stuffs used in orthopedic and dental implants are Stainless steel, Cobalt Cr metals and Titanium and its metal. Hence, in order to make proper stuff choice, it is of import to cognize about their exposure to corrosion. A brief history of the exposure of these stuffs to corrosion is given below:

Stainless Steel:

Stainless Steel contains sufficient sum of Cr to hinder corrosion by passiveness. The inactive bed ( chromium oxide ) is non every bit robust as in the instance of Ti or the Co – Cr alloys. The comparatively immune assortments of chromium steel steel are the austenitic types 316, 316L and 317, which contain Molybdenum ( 2.5 – 3.5 % ) . However, these types of chromium steel steels are vulnerable to opposing and to crevice corrosion around prison guards, under certain fortunes such as in a extremely stressed and oxygen – depleted part [ 15 ] .

Cobalt chromium metal:

Both the dramatis personae and shaped assortments of Cobalt Cr metal are inactive in the human organic structure and do non exhibit roughness, though they are reasonably susceptibility to crevice corrosion [ 16 ] .


Titanium is a base metal, in context of the electrochemical series. Hence, it should be easy corroded. Titanium is a extremely reactive metal and will respond within microseconds to organize an oxide bed when exposed to the ambiance [ 17 ] . Hence, it forms an disciple porous bed ( Tio2 ) and it was calculated that P-B ratio for TiO2 formation is 1.76, bespeaking that the formed TiO2 is protective and remains inactive under physiological conditions [ 17 ] . Titanium implants remain virtually unchanged in visual aspect and offer superior corrosion opposition [ 15 ] .


Discussion on the corrosion of Dental and Orthopaedic implant

Corrosion of Orthopaedic Implants

Orthopedic implants include both impermanent implants every bit good as lasting implants. Impermanent implants are home bases and prison guards and lasting implants are used to replace hip, spinal, toe etc. The most common signifiers of corrosion that occur in orthopedic implants are unvarying corrosion, intergranular, voltaic and stress corrosion snap, opposing and fatigue corrosion [ 18 ] .

The common corrosion mechanisms that occur in impermanent implants are crevice corrosion at shielded sites in screw interface and beneath the caputs of repairing prison guards [ 19 ] . Crevice corrosion is a signifier of local corrosion which arises on history of the differences in oxygen concentration of electrolytes. In other words, it is due to the alteration in pH in a confined infinite, such as in the crannies between a prison guard and a home base [ 20 ] . The narrower and deeper the cleft is, the more likely cranny corrosion is to get down [ 16 ] .

The other corrosion mechanism which occurs in impermanent implants is opposing corrosion of the implants made of Stainless Steel [ 19 ] . Figure 2 below, shows a SEM observation of a typical pitting-type failure occurred due to caustic onslaught, which originated the break from inside the hollow rod. The rod was removed from another patient [ 1 ] .

Figure 2: Pitting-type failure occurred due to caustic onslaught [ 1 ]

Other common corrosion mechanism in orthopedic implants is stress corrosion. Stress corrosion is a phenomenon in which a metal in a certain environment, particularly those rich in chlorides, is subjected to emphasize and falls at a much lower degree than usual as a consequence of corrosion [ 21 ] . Some of the factors that causes stress corrosion are misalloying, aggressive organic structure environment, and residuary emphasiss. Figure 3, below, shows the break surfaces of a vertebral implant made of 316L, where emphasis corrosion caused crispness and resulted in brickle break. Stress corrosion was caused by residuary emphasiss in this failure [ 1 ] .

Figure 3: Scaning negatron micrograph of stress corrosion [ 1 ]

In add-on, the corrosion of orthopedic implants are accelerated due to have on. Hence, Cobalt Cr metal, ceramics which is extremely immune to have on are frequently preferred to manufacture orthopedic implants. Titanium metals are used in hip implants, but they are used merely to do the femoral constituent. The ball which once more needs to prolong wear is either made of difficult ceramics or Chromium-cobalt metal. The femoral constituents are sometimes coated with cement to hold good arrested development. Willer et Al. have observed crevice corrosion in femoral constituents made of Ti-6Al-4V and Ti- 6Al-7Nb when they were implanted with bone cement [ 22 ] .

The accelerated corrosion trial performed by Khan et Al. On Cp Ti, Ti-Nb-Zr and Ti-Mo metals in in vitro conditions demonstrated Ti-6Al-7Nb and Ti-6Al-4V possessed best combination of corrosion and wear [ 23 ] . However, the nature and distribution of corrosion merchandises released into the organic structure from these orthopedic implants remains, still as an of import issue. Hence, presently several research workers are working on the sweetening on the betterment of surface belongingss of Ti based alloys [ 11 ] .

Corrosion of Dental Implants

Harmonizing to Dr. A. P. Abraham ( Prosthodontist and Implantologist ; Associate Professor, SRM University, Chennai ) alveolar consonant implants can be loosely classified into two classs: endosseous and subperiosteal implants [ 24 ] . Endosseous implant is an implant that is inserted into the alveolar and/or basal bone and protrudes through the mucoperiosteum [ 25 ] and in the subperiosteal implant, a dental metal contraption is made to conform to the form of a bone and is placed on its surface beneath the periosteum [ 25 ] . These implants face really aggressive environment in the oral cavity, the pH of saliva varies from 5.2 to 7.8. Thus the major grounds for corrosion of metallic implants and fillings are temperature, measure and quality of spit, plaque, pH, protein, and the physical and chemical belongingss of nutrient and liquids every bit good as unwritten wellness conditions. As two metallic constituents are used together in doing dental implants, voltaic corrosion occurs really often in dental implants [ 3 ] . This occurs most normally between the brace of metallic implants such as Co-Cr alloys, Ni-Cr, silverpalladium, gold and Ternary Ti dental implants. Piting corrosion of Co based alloys leads to the release of carcinogens into the organic structure [ 3 ] . On the other manus Ti and its metals are extremely immune to opposing corrosion in different in vivo conditions encountered ; nevertheless they undergo corrosion in high fluoride solutions in dental cleansing processs [ 3 ] . The corrosion merchandises cause stain of the next soft tissue, allergic reactions and roseolas in some patients. The lesion mending procedure is besides found to be modulated by the metal ions released by corrosion. The corrosion of the implants is farther accelerated in the absence of hapless osseointegration. Table 1 summarizes some of the common types of corrosion in the conventional stuffs used for biomaterial implants.

Table 1: Types of Corrosion in the Conventional Materials Used for Biomaterial Implants

Type of Corrosion


Implant Location

Shape of the Implant

Piting 304 SS

Cobalt based metal Orthopedic/ Dental metal

Piting 304 SS


316 L chromium steel steel

Bone home bases and prison guards

Corrosion weariness

316 SS, CoCrNiFe

Bone cement


Ti6Al4V, CoCrSS

Ball Joints


304SS/316SS, CoCr+Ti6Al4V,

316SS/Ti6Al4V Or CoCrMo

Oral Implants

Skrews and nuts

Selective Leaching

Mercury from gold

Oral implants

[ Ref: Blackwood DJ. Biomaterials: yesteryear successes and future jobs. Corrosion Rev 2003 ; 21 ( 2-3 ) : pp. 97-124. ] [ 26 ]

Measures to be taken to minimise and forestall corrosion

Corrosion of stuff will take to material loss, which in bend will weaken the implant. Furthermore, the corrosion merchandises might besides get away into the tissue and can ensue in unwanted effects [ 27 ] . Hence, it is of import to set up steps to forestall and minimise corrosion in biological implants.

Surface alteration is one manner to battle corrosion. Ti dental implants are frequently surface modified to cut down corrosion and besides this improves osseointegration and increases the biocompatibility. Surface alteration involves surface machining, sandblasting, acerb etching, electropolishing, anodal oxidization, plasma-spraying and biocompatible/biodegradable coatings are performed to better the quality and measure of the bone-implant interface of titanium-based implants [ 28 ] .Unlike the above interventions, laser-etching technique was introduced in stuff technology originally which resulted in alone microstructures with greatly enhanced hardness, corrosion opposition, or other utile surface belongingss [ 28 ] . Laser processing besides is now being used in implant applications to bring forth a high grade of pureness with adequate raggedness for good osseointegration [ 3 ] .

With respect to orthopedic implants besides, different surface alteration methods have been adopted to better their corrosion opposition [ 3 ] . Thair et Al. Studied the corrosion behaviour of nitrogen ion implanted Ti-6Al-7Nb metal by changing the dosage of the N ions utilizing an gas pedal [ 3 ] . They observed that the inactive current denseness and country of the repassivation cringle were decreased as the dose values increased. Similarly the work carried out by Kamachi et Al. on N debasing on the cold worked 316L austenitic chromium steel steel showed a significant betterment in the roughness corrosion opposition [ 3 ] .


The field of corrosion with regard to dental and orthopedic implants faces tonss of challenges. Present research is focussed on developing composite stuffs since our bone, dentin etc are natural complexs. However, more surveies are to be made to understand the behavior of composite stuffs to understand their bio-fluid absorbing behavior, interfacial bonding between the matrix.

Ceramicss are another category of stuffs which have high biocompatibility and enhanced corrosion opposition. They are widely used today for entire hip replacing, bosom valves, dental implants and Restorations, bone fillers and scaffolds for tissue technology. But one job with ceramics is that they are brickle, have high elastic modulus and can fracture as they posses low malleability. Corrosion opposition is frequently improved by making Surface alterations. Besides the wear opposition, surface texture and biocompatibility are achieved through this [ 3 ] .

In a nutshell, the field of corrosion in biological systems is immature and fertile as adult male knows merely small about his physiology and its interactions with the foreign organic structure is much more complicated and therefore the mission will go on.



Endosseous implant


An implant that is inserted into the alveolar and/or basal bone and protrudes through the mucoperiosteum.



Mucous membrane and periosteum so closely united as to organize practically a individual membrane, as that covering the difficult roof of the mouth



A It refers to the direct structural and functional connexion between livingA boneA and the surface of a load-bearingA unreal implant.



The midst, hempen membrane covering the full surface of a bone except its articular gristle and the countries where it attaches to sinews and ligaments.

Subperiosteal implant


An unreal alveolar consonant metal contraption made to conform to the form of a bone and placed on its surface beneath the periosteum.



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