Surface Functionalization of Biomedical Ti-6Al-7Nb Alloy by Liquid Metal Dealloying


Surface functionalization is an effective approach to change the surface properties of a material to achieve a specific goal such as improving the biocompatibility of the material. Here, the surface of the commercial biomedical Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy was functionalized through synthesizing of a porous surface layer by liquid metal dealloying (LMD). During LMD, the Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy is immersed in liquid magnesium (Mg) and both materials react with each other. Particularly, aluminum (Al) is selectively dissolved from the Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy into liquid Mg while titanium (Ti) and niobium (Nb) diffuse along the metal/liquid interface to form a porous structure. We demonstrate that the porous surface layer in the Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy can be successfully tailored by LMD. Furthermore, the concentration of harmful Al in this porous layer is reduced by about 48% (from 5.62 ± 0.11 wt.% to 2.95 ± 0.05 wt.%) after 30 min of dealloying at 1150 K. The properties of the porous layer (e.g., layer thickness) can be tuned by varying the dealloying conditions. In-vitro tests suggest improved bone formation on the functionalized porous surface of the Ti-6Al-7Nb alloy.
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