Metallic materials have gained much attention recently from the areas of medical devices and orthopaedics. Artificial organs, dental implants, prostheses and implants that replace damaged or malfunctioning parts in the body are, or contain, metal components. Our ageing society poses an increased demand to provide devices and implants that can demonstrate better performance than those presented by traditional solutions. Matching the mechanical properties (i.e. stiffness and strength) of the device to those of the host tissue is a major challenge for the design and manufacture of engineered metal materials for biomedical applications. Failure in doing so provokes implant loosening, patient discomfort and repeated surgeries. Therefore, tailoring physical properties and biocompatibility of those materials is the main final aim of this research programme.
This PhD study has focused on the tailoring of the mechanical properties of titanium-based materials and titanium-based alloys. Titanium inertness and the selection of biocompatible alloying elements were set as the baseline. Two approaches were employed to decrease stiffness (i.e. Young s modulus): one, by introducing porosity in a titanium matrix and therefore, reduce its Young s modulus, and two, by designing and manufacturing beta-titanium-based alloys with a reduced Young s modulus. Titanium scaffolds were manufactured using powder metallurgy with space holder technique and a sintering process. Different space holder sizes were used in four different categories to study the effect of pore size and porosity on the mechanical properties of the porosity engineered Ti scaffolds. Ti-based alloys were manufactured using manufacturing techniques such as sintering and arc-melting. The effect of different fabrication processes and the addition of beta-stabilising elements were studied and investigated.
The obtained results of mechanical properties for pore size and porosity were within the values that match bone properties. This means these materials are suitable for biomedical application and the beta-Ti alloys results show that the mechanical properties can be decreased via tailoring the crystal structures. The characterisation of the Ti-based alloys helps to develop this material for its use in biomedical application.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.