UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Biomedical NiTi and β-Ti Alloys: From Composition, Microstructure and Thermo-Mechanics to Application Nespoli, Adelaide; Passaretti, Francesca; Szentmiklósi, László; Maróti, Boglárka; Placidi, Ernesto; Cassetta, Michele; Yada, R. Y. (Rickey Yoshio), 1954-; Farrar, David H.; Tian, Kun V.


A comprehensive, bottoms-up characterization of two of the most widely used biomedical Ti-containing alloys, NiTi and β-Ti, was carried out applying a novel combination of neutron diffraction, neutron prompt-gamma activation, surface morphology, thermal analysis and mechanical tests, to relate composition, microstructure and physical-chemical-mechanical properties to unknown processing history. The commercial specimens studied are rectangular (0.43 × 0.64 mm~0.017 × 0.025 inch) wires, in both pre-formed U-shape and straight extended form. Practical performance was quantitatively linked to the influence of alloying elements, microstructure and thermo-mechanical processing. Results demonstrated that the microstructure and phase composition of β-Ti strongly depended on the composition, phase-stabilizing elements in particular, in that the 10.2 wt.% Mo content in Azdent resulted in 41.2% α phase, while Ormco with 11.6 wt.% Mo contained only β phase. Although the existence of α phase is probable in the meta-stable alloy, the α phase has never been quantified before. Further, the phase transformation behavior of NiTi directly arose from the microstructure, whilst being highly influenced by thermo-mechanical history. A strong correlation (r = 0.878) was established between phase transformation temperature and the force levels observed in bending test at body temperature, reconfirming that structure determines performance, while also being highly influenced by thermo-mechanical history. The novel methodology described is evidenced as generating a predictive profile of the eventual biomechanical properties and practical performance of the commercial materials. Overall, the work encompasses a reproducible and comprehensive approach expected to aid in future optimization and rational design of devices of metallic origin.

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