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Characterization of cellular solids in Ti6Al4V for orthopaedic implant applications: Trabecular titanium

Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2010.02.001
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Abstract EBM (Electron Beam Melting) technology can be used successfully to obtain cellular solids in metallic biomaterials that can greatly increase osseointegration in arthroprothesis and at the same time maintain good mechanical properties. The investigated structures, called Trabecular Titanium, usually cannot be obtained by traditional machining. Two samples: (A) with a smaller single cell area and, (B) with a bigger single cell area, were produced and studied in this project. They have been completely characterized and compared with the results in similar literature pertinent to Ti6Al4V EBM structures. Relative density was evaluated using different methods, the mean diameter of the open porosities was calculated by Scanning Electron Microscope images; the composition was evaluated using Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy; the microstructure ( α – β ) was investigated using chemical etching and, the mechanical proprieties were investigated using UMTS. The mean porosity values resulted comparable with spongy bone (63% for A and 72% for B). The mean diameter of the single porosity (650 μm for A and 1400 μm for B) resulted compatible with the osseointegration data from the literature, in particular for sample A. The Vickers micro-hardness tests and the chemical etching demonstrated that the structure is fine, uniform and well distributed. The mechanical test proved that sample (A) was more resistant than sample (B), but sample (B) showed an elastic modulus almost equal to the value of spongy bone. The results of this study suggest that the two Ti6Al4V cellular solids can be used in biomedical applications to promote osseointegration demonstrating that they maybe successfully used in prosthetic implants. Additional implant results will be published in the near future.

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