Ti-6Al-4V alloy is widely used in aircraft, automotive and biomedical applications due to its corrosion resistance, high strength-to-weight ratio (i.e., specific strength) and biocompatibility properties. Even though these characteristics are required in metal components used in total joint replacement surgeries, Ti-6Al-4V exhibits a poor tribological performance.
Different post-processing approaches (e.g., heat treatments, surface coating, and surface texturing) have been investigated to tackle this drawback. Laser texturing, for instance, has become an increasingly post-processing route for improving the corrosion resistance, tribological behaviour and biocompatibility of Ti-6Al-4V surfaces. In the work of Wang and collaborators (2022), they investigated those properties by creating a microgrooved surface on the alloy via UV nanosecond laser texturing.
An enhancement in corrosion resistance was found in laser texture surfaces, which might be due to a β → α phase transformation occurring in the surface motivated by laser ablation. On a similar note, the tribological performance of the surface treated material displayed an enhancement (i.e., reduction of coefficient of friction during dry sliding and decrease in wear volume generated). The authors attribute this phenomena to an augmentation in the surface hardness of the material also caused by laser texturing.
In vitro bioactivity, evaluated via BMSC adhesion, also followed the trend of the before-mentioned properties, with microgrooved surfaces showing the highest proliferation rate and adhesion number.
Header image reproduced from Wang (2022).
This post was written by Pedro Luiz Lima dos Santos as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.
Pedro is researching the Functional Biotribology of the Surface Engineering of 3D Printed Components at the University of Leeds, UK.