SUNConferences, Southern African Institute of Industrial Engineering 2013

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Functional Performance And Machinability Of Titanium Alloys For Medical Implants: A Review
Maria Elizabeth Engelbrecht, Nico Treurnicht, Guven Akdogan, Natasha Sacks

Last modified: 2013-06-25


Recent findings in biocompatibility research indicate that currently used titanium alloys may have biological side effects necessitating their replacement. Long term investigations into biocompatibility have identified serious adverse biological systemic effects caused by currently used implant materials. Substantial work is being conducted into biocompatibility yielding improved performance in this field for alloys under development.

The machinability of this next generation of implant titanium alloys is still unknown. The medical implant industry is not predominantly cost sensitive but is part of a free market business environment. Prohibitive costs of implants will prevent their acceptance in this market segment. Machinability has a large cost implication on the business feasibility of implant manufacturing. It is therefore essential that not only biocompatibility but also machinability should be on acceptable levels for the alloy to be accepted in this market.

This study reviews the literature for recent findings on long term biocompatibility studies of currently used titanium alloys for implants. The study also includes biocompatibility and structural results of the next generation titanium alloys under development for medical application. The study is concluded with a comparison of these two categories and an identification of alloys that needs to be included in future machinability research. 

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