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Engineering

Research project: Processing of nanostructured materials for medical applications

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The aim of this project is to investigate microstructural evolution, biocompatibility and corrosion behaviour of nanostructured Ti alloys, processed by SPD for medical applications. The overall objectives of the project are three-fold: (1) To optimise the processing techniques of Ti alloys through Equal Channel Processing (ECAP) and High Pressure Torsion (HPT); (2) To obtain a detailed understanding of the microstructural changes and the influence of these changes on the corrosion properties; (3) To explore potential medical applications of SPD-processed materials.

Project Overview

Processing of ultrafine-grained (UFG) or nanostructured materials using sever plastic deformation (SPD) has now become one of the major thrust areas in modern materials science. The advantages of using this processing method are two-fold. First, there is a refinement of the grain size which leads to a major increase in strength. Second, if the grains are reasonably stable at elevated temperatures, there is a potential for achieving a superplastic forming capability. Both make it attractive for use in industrial and commercial applications.

Commercial purity (CP) titanium and titanium alloys such as Ti-6% Al-4% V are currently in wide use for medical implants. The current applications include hip and knee replacements and dental implants for both the support of crowns and for orthodontal purposes. These materials are effective but the applications are limited by the overall strength of Ti and the Ti alloys. An increase in strength would be an attractive feature, thereby permitting the use of smaller parts and less invasive surgery. The strength of Ti alloys can be increased by reducing the grain size through SPD techniques.

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Engineering Materials

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