Student Research

Electrochemical characterization of a titanium alloy - effect of pH

Titanium and titanium alloys are widely used as implants in the human body. This is because of their advantageous mechanical properties, corrosion resistance and biocompatibility. The alloy that is most commonly used is Ti-6Al-4V which is a titanium-based material containing 6 mass % of aluminum and 4 mass % of vanadium with the rest (90 mass %) comprised of titanium. Although this alloy has been in use for a while, it is important to understand their stability in the body because of the increasingly longer life expectancies of the population as a whole. A problem of importance is the discharge of metal particles into the tissue encompassing the implant, which can cause adverse reactions in the body. It is well known that the pH in the vicinity of an implant can vary quite dramatically during and immediately after surgery. These shifts in pH can cause a local increase in the rate of corrosion. The goal of this study was to investigate the impact of three different pH levels on the corrosion behavior of Ti-6Al-4V in a phosphate buffered saline solution utilizing electrochemical methods. The results will be reported and discussed.