Additively manufactured biomedical Ti-Nb-Ta-Zr lattices with tunable Young's modulus: Mechanical property, biocompatibility, and proteomics analysis


Some β-Ti alloys, such as Ti-Nb-Ta-Zr (TNTZ) alloys, exhibit a low Young's modulus and excellent biocompatibility. These alloys are promising new generation biomedical implant materials. Selective laser melting (SLM) can further enable customer-specific manufacturing of β-Ti alloys to satisfy the ever-increasing need for enhanced biomedical products. In this study, we quantitatively determined the relationships between porosity, yield strength, and Young's modulus of SLM-prepared TNTZ lattices. The study constitutes a critical step toward understanding the behavior of the lattice and eventually enables tuning the Young's modulus to match that of human bones. Fatigue properties were also investigated on as-printed lattices in terms of the stress limit. The biocompatibility study included a routine evaluation of the relative cell growth rate and a proteomics analysis using a common mouse fibroblast cell line, L929. The results indicated that the as-printed TNTZ samples exhibited evidence of protein proliferation of the L929 cells, particularly P06733, and that those proteins are responsible for biological processes and molecular functions. They in turn may have promoted cell regeneration, cell motility, and protein binding, which at least partially explains the good biocompatibility of the as-printed TNTZ at the protein level. The study highlights the promising applications of additively manufactured TNTZ as a bone-replacing material from mechanical and biocompatibility perspectives.
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