, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 1409-1420

Study on the Role of Stearic Acid and Ethylene-bis-stearamide on the Mechanical Alloying of a Biomedical Titanium Based Alloy

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Abstract

The present study examines the influence of different contents and types of process control agent (PCA), i.e., stearic acid (SA) and ethylene-bis-stearamide (EBS), on the microstructural evolution and characteristics of Ti-16Sn-4Nb (wt pct) alloy powders and bulk samples. The characterization of the powders and bulk samples was carried out by using chemical analysis, optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) combined with energy-dispersive spectrometry (EDS), and X-ray diffractometry. Results indicated that the powder recovered from the ball milling containers increased with increasing amounts of SA and EBS. Furthermore, adding more SA or EBS to the powder mixture resulted in a considerably smaller particle size, with a flaky-shaped morphology for the given ball milling time. Also, a slightly higher effectiveness was found for EBS when compared to SA. Meanwhile, the addition of both SA and EBS led to a delay in the alloy formation during mechanical alloying (MA) and caused contamination of the material with mainly carbon (C) and oxygen (O). An optimum amount of 1 wt pct PCA led to a good balance between cold welding and fracturing, and thus favored the formation of the titanium alloy. The microstructural observation of the bulk alloy showed a homogeneous distribution of fine Nb-rich β-phase colonies within the α-Ti matrix with the addition of PCA less than 1 wt pct.

Manuscript submitted June 1, 2009.