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Titanium Alloys as Implant Materials - Essay Example

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This paper "Titanium Alloys as Implant Materials" discusses the use of titanium and its alloys in biomedical implants. The process of using titanium implants has come to such a point that patients can get a titanium implant within the hour with local anesthesia and go home the same day…
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Titanium Alloys as Implant Materials
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Download file to see previous pages Pure titanium and many titanium alloys have always found their application in engineering and the aerospace industry while their use as implant materials is fairy recent (Niinomi, 2002). However, they have gained popularity and more than 2 million pounds of titanium devices are used for medical implants around the world every year. The recent demand for titanium devices has increased due to the fact that people are experiencing longer life spans and there are more accidents that require replacement surgery or internal implants. In such situations where hip replacements are required or pins need to be inserted into joints, titanium alloys fulfill the demand since they are very biocompatible as compared to other artificial materials (TIG, 2006).

Of course, the titanium alloys used are ‘medical grade’ i.e. they have special properties and mixtures which allow them to exist inside the naturally corrosive environment of the human body without adding significant amounts of external elements (Bhadeshia, 2006). These alloys range in properties from being highly ductile almost pure titanium to super-strong heat-treated materials that have strengths higher than 190Ksi. Recently, the use of shape memory alloys that use titanium has also come into focus since these are useful for the creation of artificial joints. Advances have also been made in the surface treatment of titanium alloys which yield higher quality materials and enhance the natural abilities of titanium (TIG, 2006).

Although titanium is relatively low in cost since the price of titanium metal powder 99.95% pure is about $100/lb. (LANL. 2004), medical applications require long term continuous use of the material which means that once an implant is placed it can not be easily replaced or serviced. The cost of the alloy, therefore, is significantly higher since the creation, formation and installation process has to be as close to perfect as it is humanly possible. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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