SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1996

Mechanical and Tribological Properties and Biocompatibility of Diffusion Hardened Ti-13Nb-13Zr — A New Titanium Alloy for Surgical Implants


While all three groups of orthopaedic implants — prosthetic, fracture fixation and spinal — have had outstanding clinical success, their very success has resulted in greater expectations and more demanding performance criteria, driving the search for the next generation of implant materials. Efforts are underway to develop materials which are more resistant to fretting and wear, so as to reduce the incidence of osteolysis, and have a lower modulus, in order to reduce stress shielding and bone resorption. The present paper describes the results of evaluation of Ti-13Nb-13Zr (Ti-13-13), a new titanium alloy developed to meet these criteria. Compared to mill-annealed, standard grade Ti-6Al-4V, Ti-13-13 has equivalent tensile strength and ductility, 30% lower elastic modulus, equivalent 10 million cycle unnotched axial fatigue endurance limit, higher notched fatigue endurance limit, 20% higher plane strain fracture toughness, 20% higher Charpy impact energy, 30–40% lower flexural and shear moduli, 40% lower corrosion rate in simulated body environments, equivalent wear resistance, and lower inflammation, fibrosis and necrosis. When Ti-13-13 is diffusion hardened (DH), a wear-resistant, ceramic surface is produced. Both Ti-13-13 and DH Ti-13-13 have superior osseointegration compared to CP Ti. Hence, this alloy may be an excellent candidate for a wide range of implant applications.

Author Information

Mishra, AK
Smith and Nephew Richards, Memphis, TN, USA
Davidson, JA
Smith and Nephew Richards, Memphis, TN, USA
Poggie, RA
Smith and Nephew Richards, Memphis, TN, USA
Kovacs, P
Smith and Nephew Richards, Memphis, TN, USA
FitzGerald, TJ
Smith and Nephew Richards, Memphis, TN, USA
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Developed by Committee: F04
Pages: 96–113
DOI: 10.1520/STP16073S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5330-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2010-5