Computational modelling of magnesium degradation in simulated body fluid under physiological conditions


Magnesium alloys are highly attractive for the use as temporary implant materials, due to their high biocompatibility and biodegradability. However, the prediction of the degradation rate of the implants is difficult, therefore, a large number of experiments are required. Computational modelling can aid in enabling the predictability, if sufficiently accurate models can be established. This work presents a generalized model of the degradation of pure magnesium in simulated body fluid over the course of 28 days considering uncertainty aspects. The model includes the computation of the metallic material thinning and is calibrated using the mean degradation depth of several experimental datasets simultaneously. Additionally, the formation and precipitation of relevant degradation products on the sample surface is modelled, based on the ionic composition of simulated body fluid. The computed mean degradation depth is in good agreement with the experimental data (NRMSE=0.07). However, the quality of the depth profile curves of the determined elemental weight percentage of the degradation products differs between elements (such as NRMSE=0.40 for phosphorus vs. NRMSE=1.03 for magnesium). This indicates that the implementation of precipitate formation may need further developments. The sensitivity analysis showed that the model parameters are correlated and which is related to the complexity and the high computational costs of the model. Overall, the model provides a correlating fit to the experimental data of pure Mg samples of different geometries degrading in simulated body fluid with reliable error estimation.
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