Corrosion of experimental magnesium alloys in blood and PBS: A gravimetric and microscopic evaluation


Corrosion tests for medical materials are often performed in simulated body fluids (SBF). When SBF are used for corrosion measurement, the open question is, how well they match the conditions in the human body. The aim of the study was to compare the corrosion behaviour of different experimental magnesium alloys in human whole blood and PBSminus (phosphate buffered saline w/o Ca and Mg) as a simulated body fluid by gravimetric weight measurements and microscopic evaluation. Eight different experimental magnesium alloys, containing neither Mn nor other additives, were manufactured. With these alloys, a static immersion test in PBSminus and a dynamic test using the Chandler-loop model with human whole blood over 6 h were performed. During the static immersion test, the samples were weighed every hour. During the dynamic test, the specimens were weighed before and after the 6 h incubation period in the Chandler-loop. From both tests, the total mass change was calculated for each alloy and the values were compared. Additionally, microscopic pictures from the samples were taken at the end of the test period. All alloys showed different corrosion behaviour in both tests, especially the alloys with high aluminium content, MgAl9 and MgAl9Zn1. Generally, alloys in PBS showed a weight gain due to generation of a microscopically visible corrosion layer, while in the blood test system a more or less distinct weight loss was observed. When alloys are ranked according to corrosion susceptibility, the results differ also between the test systems. The MgAl9 alloy, showing the most pronounced corrosion in PBS, was one of the least corroding alloys under simulated in vivo conditions in blood. Thus, the ranking concerning clinical suitability of the magnesium alloys tested in this study is different, depending on the used electrolyte and the kind of method. For a possible clinical use, the alloy MgAl9Zn1 might be preferable for further investigations.
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