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J Orthop Res. 1993 Nov;11(6):865-73.

Reduction of fretting corrosion of Ti-6Al-4V by various surface treatments.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106-7207.


Titanium and titanium-6% aluminum-4% vanadium (Ti-6Al-4V) are known to be biocompatible and corrosion resistant. However, there have been numerous reports of elevated tissue levels of titanium due to passive dissolution, wear, or fretting corrosion of implants. Studies were undertaken to determine whether the fretting corrosion of Ti-6Al-4V could be reduced by surface treatment of one or both surfaces in a fretting situation. Three different surface treatments were studied: ion implantation, physical vapor deposition nitriding, and plasma ion nitriding. The specimens used were screws fretting against the countersinks of a two-hole plate. Fretting corrosion was assessed by weight loss, by chemical analysis of test solutions, and by scanning electron microscopy. Surface treatment of one component, the screws, resulted in reduction in the release of titanium to only 18-32% of that seen with the untreated controls. Weight loss of the untreated plates fretted against physical vapor deposition nitrided screws and plasma ion nitrided screws was reduced to 31 and 38% of the control, respectively. The weight loss of plasma nitrided screws was only 30% that of the control. Nitriding of both plates and screws resulted in a further decrease in plate weight loss and metal release. Plasma ion nitriding of both components had the most significant effect, with the weight loss and titanium release being only 11 and 2% of the control values, respectively.

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