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Addition of Sn to TiNb alloys to improve mechanical performance and surface properties conducive to enhanced cell activity

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journal contribution
posted on 16.03.2020, 11:03 by Carmen Torres, Jing Wang, Mattia Norrito, Lorenzo Zani, Paul Conway
Titanium (Ti) alloys with Niobium (Nb) and Tin (Sn) were prepared in order to conduct a systematic study on the bulk and surface properties of as-cast c.p.Ti, binary Ti40Nb and Ti10Sn, and ternary Ti-10Nb-5Sn (at.%) to ascertain whether Sn content can be used as an enhancer for cell activity. From a metallurgy viewpoint, a range of binary and ternary alloys displaying distinctive Ti phases (i.e. β, α’, α”) were achieved at room temperature. Their surface (oxide thickness and composition, roughness, contact angle) and bulk (compressive stiffness, strength, elongation, microhardness, electrical resistance) features were characterised. The same surface roughness was imparted on all the alloys, therefore substrate-cell interactions were evaluated independently from this variable. The physico-mechanical properties of the ternary alloy presented the highest strength to stiffness ratio and thereby proved the most suitable for load-bearing orthopaedic applications. From a cellular response viewpoint, their cytotoxicity, ability to adsorb proteins, to support cell growth and to promote proliferation were studied. Metabolic activity using a mouse model was monitored for a period of 12 days to elucidate the mechanism behind an enhanced proliferation rate observed in the Sn-containing alloys. It was hypothesised that the complex passivating surface oxide layer and the bulk inhomogeneity with two dominant Ti phases were responsible for this phenomenon.


Future Connected Smart Manufacturing Platform : EP/P027482/1



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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Materials Science and Engineering: C




Elsevier BV


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© The Authors

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This is an Open Access article. It is published by Elsevier under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Dr Carmen Torres-Sanchez. Deposit date: 13 March 2020

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