Preliminary tribo-electrochemical and biological responses of the Ti-TiB-TiCx in-situ composites intended for load-bearing biomedical implants
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Poor tribocorrosion resistance of Ti and its alloys remains as a concern for load-bearing biomedical implants. Despite being an effective method to improve tribocorrosion resistance, titanium matrix composites (TMCs) have yet to be used in this type of applications. In-situ TiB (titanium boride) and TiC (titanium carbide) reinforcement phases have been considered as one of the best options to produce TMCs once these phases present high compatibility and strong interfacial bonding with Ti. Although the effect of these phases on the mechanical properties of Ti has been thoroughly researched in the last years, their effect on corrosion, tribocorrosion and biocompatibility of Ti is yet to be fully understood. In this work, in-situ Ti-TiB-TiCx composites obtained by reactive hot pressing showed identical corrosion response compared to the unreinforced Ti but displayed improved tribocorrosion behaviour. Under 0.5 N load, composites presented as average a reduction of 51% in wear volume loss and under 10 N the reduction was up to 93%. Early biological tests showed promising results, as composites were biocompatible and induced osteoblasts spreading and possibly proliferation most probably due to composite chemistry and surface hardness.