2008 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 365-371
Beta-type titanium alloys used in biomedical applications have been developed all over the world. In particular, Ti-29Nb-13Ta-4.6Zr alloy (TNTZ) is one of beta-type titanium alloys for biomedical applications that has been developed by the authors in Japan. Although TNTZ is composed of non-toxic elements such as niobium, tantalum, and zirconium, it still lacks bioactivity, which is the ability to form chemical bonds with living bones. The stems that are parts of artificial hip joints, dental implants, etc., which are made of metallic materials, etc. are required to bond strongly with living bones. However, these stems, dental implants etc., cannot form chemical bond with living bones by themselves. The bioactive surface modification of metallic materials by the application of ceramics is effective in improving the biocompatibility of TNTZ. Calcium phosphate ceramics such as hydroxyapatite (Ca10(PO4)6OH2; HAP) and β-tricalcium phosphate (β-Ca3(PO4)2; β-TCP) possess bioactivity. In this study, the characteristics and morphology of TNTZ coated with a calcium phosphate invert-glass-ceramic (CPIG) layer by dip-coating treatment or with a sodium titanate layer by alkali solution treatment are investigated before and after soaking it in a simulated body fluid (SBF).
The bonding strength between a CPIG layer with a thickness of around 5 μm and a specimen surface of TNTZ is around 25 MPa. No cracks or exfoliations are observed along the boundary between the CPIG layer and the specimen surface. This is the reason why the difference in the thermal expansion coefficients between CPIG layer and TNTZ reduced due to a compositional gradient zone with a thickness of around 3 μm in CPIG layer. HAP is formed on the entire surface of the TNTZ specimen after soaking it in the SBF for more than 1728 ks. The fatigue properties of TNTZ coated with a CPIG layer are similar to those of as-solutionized TNTZ. A reticulate structure with a thickness of 400 to 800 nm is formed on the TNTZ specimen surface after soaking it in 3 to 10 kmol/m3 NaOH solution for 86.4 ks and 172.8 ks. HAP is completely formed on the entire surface of the TNTZ specimen when it is soaked in the SBF for 1209.6 ks after being soaked in 5 kmol/m3 NaOH solution for 172.8 ks.