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Tantalum-Based Thin Film Coatings for Wear Resistant Arthroprostheses

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Cobalt-chromium-molybdenum alloys with high carbon content (HC-CoCrMo) are widely used as materials for arthroprosthesis, in particular in metal-on-metal (MoM) hip joints. In spite of their good wear and corrosion resistance, production of metallic wear particles and metal ion release will occur on a large time-scale. An enhancement of the metal ion level in the patient's blood and urine is often reported in clinical data. Hypersensitivity, inflammatory response and cell necrosis can occur as consequence. So implants on young patients and women on childbearing age are not so widespread. The aim of this research is the realization of a thin film coating in order to improve the biocompatibility of Co-based alloys and to reduce debris production, ion release and citotoxicity. The innovative process consists of a thermal treatment in molten salts, in order to obtain a tantalum enriched thin film coating. Tantalum is chosen because it is considered a biocompatible metal with high corrosion resistance and low ion release. Three HC-CoCrMo alloys, produced by different manufacturing processes, are tested as substrates. The coating is a thin film of TaC or it can be composed by a multilayer of two tantalum carbides and metallic tantalum, depending on the temperature of the treatment and on the carbon content of the substrate. The thin films as well the substrates are characterized from the structural, chemical and morphological point of view. Moreover mechanical behaviour of treated and untreated materials is analyzed by means of nanohardness, scratch and ball-on-disc wear tests. The coating increases the mechanical and tribological properties of HC-CoCrMo.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2011

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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