Biomater Res. 2022 Sep 5;26(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s40824-022-00283-5.
BACKGROUND: Although several studies on the Mg-Zn-Ca system have focused on alloy compositions that are restricted to solid solutions, the influence of the solid solution component of Ca on Mg-Zn alloys is unknown. Therefore, to broaden its utility in orthopedic applications, studies on the influence of the addition of Ca on the microstructural, mechanical, and corrosion properties of Mg-Zn alloys should be conducted. In this study, an in-depth investigation of the effect of Ca on the mechanical and bio-corrosion characteristics of the Mg-Zn alloy was performed for the optimization of a clinically approved Mg alloy system comprising Ca and Zn.
METHODS: The Mg alloy was fabricated by gravitational melting of high purity Mg, Ca, and Zn metal grains under an Ar gas environment. The surface and cross-section were observed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to analyze their crystallographic structures. Electrochemical and immersion tests in Hank’s balanced salt solution were used to analyze their corrosion resistance. Tensile testing was performed with universal testing equipment to investigate the impact of Ca addition. The examination of cytotoxicity for biometric determination was in line with the ISO10993 standard.
RESULTS: In this study, the 0.1% Ca alloy had significantly retarded grain growth due to the formation of the tiny and well-dispersed Ca2Mg6Zn3 phase. In addition, the yield strength and elongation of the 0.1% Ca alloy were more than 50% greater than the 2% Zn alloy. The limited cell viability of the 0.3% Ca alloy could be attributed to its high corrosion rate, whereas the 0.1% Ca alloy demonstrated cell viability of greater than 80% during the entire experimental period.
CONCLUSION: The effect of the addition of Ca on the microstructure, mechanical, and corrosion characteristics of Mg-Zn alloys was analyzed in this work. The findings imply that the Mg-Zn alloy system could be optimized by adding a small amount of Ca, improving mechanical properties while maintaining corrosion rate, thus opening the door to a wide range of applications in orthopedic surgery.