21 July 2016
Scientists have developed a mixture of titanium and gold that could be used to create more durable new artificial knee and hip joints.
The Rice University research team have created a three-to-one mixture of titanium and gold with a specific atomic structure that offers additional firmness. The material is not described as being difficult to produce.
Pure titanium is the most commonly used material for artificial knee and hip joints at present due to its strength, wear resistance and non-toxic qualities, but the new mixture offers a number of key advantages.
Lead researcher Emilia Morosan, professor of physics and astronomy, of chemistry and of materials science and nanoengineering at Rice University, said: "It is about three to four times harder than most steels. It's four times harder than pure titanium, which is what's currently being used in most dental implants and replacement joints."
Tests by colleagues at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston showed the new alloy is even more biocompatible and wear-resistant than pure titanium. Further studies will now be conducted to see if chemical dopants might improve its hardness even further.
Posted by Edward Bartel
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