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Biomaterials. 2006 Mar;27(7):1013-8. Epub 2005 Aug 24.

In vitro and in vivo corrosion measurements of magnesium alloys.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Anna-von-Borries-Str.1-7, 30625 Hannover, Germany.


The in vivo corrosion of magnesium alloys might provide a new mechanism which would allow degradable metal implants to be applied in musculo-skeletal surgery. This would particularly be true if magnesium alloys with controlled in vivo corrosion rates could be developed. Since the magnesium corrosion process depends on its corrosive environment, the corrosion rates of magnesium alloys under standard in vitro environmental conditions were compared to corrosion rates in an in vivo animal model. Two gravity-cast magnesium alloys (AZ91D, LAE442) were used in these investigations. Standardized immersion and electrochemical tests according to ASTM norms were performed. The in vivo corrosion tests were carried out by intramedullar implantation of sample rods of the magnesium alloys in guinea pig femura. The reduction in implant volume was determined by synchrotron-radiation-based microtomography. We found that in vivo corrosion was about four orders of magnitude lower than in vitro corrosion of the tested alloys. Furthermore, the tendency of the corrosion rates obtained from in vitro corrosion tests were in the opposite direction as those obtained from the in vivo study. The results of this study suggest, that the conclusions drawn from current ASTM standard in vitro corrosion tests cannot be used to predict in vivo corrosion rates of magnesium alloys.

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