IdentiTI – Nanostructured titanium alloy with different Young´s moduli for an innovative dental implant
The IdentiTI project investigates a process chain for the continuous production of ultrafine-grained Ti-13Nb-13Zr material. The aim is to develop an innovative implant system with outstanding properties for health and quality of life.
Around 1.3 million dental implants are applied in Germany every year. The current medical implant systems are made of titanium because of high demands on corrosion resistance, fatigue strength and biocompatibility. To increase strength, alloying elements such as aluminum and vanadium are used. However, these are critical for medical applications due to toxic incompatibilities. In addition, the high Young´s modulus of the current implants is problematic, since bone resorption can occur at the contact points between implant and bone leading to loosening of the implant.
A new implant system based on the nanostructured titanium alloy Ti-13Nb-13Zr (NanoTNZ) solves these challenges. NanoTNZ has promising properties that qualify it as a material for medical implants. The fine-grained structure of this material stimulates interactions between the implant and the surrounding body cells. This leads to improved bone healing by creating a direct structural bond between the surface of the implant and the bone tissue. In addition, it is possible to adapt the Young´s modulus of the nanostructured implant to the bone in order to prevent implant losses due to relative movements.
In this project, industrial and university partners from very interdisciplinary fields (implantology, machining, materials science and forming technology) work together to develop a new innovative dental implant system. The Institute of Production Engineering and Forming Machines (PtU) focuses on the industrial production of the nanostructured titanium alloy NanoTNZ. The solution approach is shown in Figure 1.
The Equal-Channel-Angular-Swaging (ECAS) process developed at PtU allows continuous nanostructuring of materials. This process is used to investigate the formation of ultrafine-grained titanium from the coarse-grained initial material. Subsequent heat treatments are applied to adjust the Young´s modulus of the material. The material TNZ reacts sensitively to a large number of process parameters in heat treatment and forming while nanostructuring. For this reason, precise knowledge of all influencing variables and their effects on the product is required in order to control nanostructuring in a targeted manner.
The results are the basis for the design of a continuous process chain for the successful economic production of NanoTNZ, which is to be used for dental implants.
The IdentiTI project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In addition, thanks go to the project partners AdvantIQx, Institute for Materials at TU Braunschweig and Schweizer Feinwerktechnik.