Volume 94 Issue 30 | p. 10 | Concentrates
Issue Date: July 25, 2016

Midas touch hardens titanium

Thanks to its superior properties, the alloy β-Ti3Au could replace titanium in medical implants
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Materials SCENE
Keywords: materials, tituanium, gold, alloy
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The compound depicted in this crystal structure, β-Ti3Au, is hard and biocompatible.
Credit: Sci. Adv.
This image shows a crystal structure of β-Ti3Au.
 
The compound depicted in this crystal structure, β-Ti3Au, is hard and biocompatible.
Credit: Sci. Adv.

Thanks to its strength and biocompatibility, titanium has become the metal of choice for medical implants. But by adding a little gold to titanium, researchers now report they can create a superior material (Sci. Adv. 2016, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600319). The new compound, β-Ti3Au, is four times as hard as pure titanium and many steel alloys. The researchers, led by Rice University’s Emilia Morosan, attribute its extreme hardness, in part, to short Ti–Au bonds and a large number of valence electrons. Harder materials are always desirable, Morosan says, but hardness alone is not enough for biomedical applications. The material must also be biocompatible, and many hard titanium alloys are not. Happily, β-Ti3Au is. It also wears better than pure titanium, which translates to a longer lifetime for implants made from the material. “These properties make β-Ti3Au a good candidate for prolonging the lifetime of various dental implants and replacement joints,” Morosan says. But the compound’s superior properties may also allow engineers to use it for new applications in medicine, drilling, and sporting goods, she notes.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

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