Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 1632-1639

First online:

Microstructures, mechanical properties and in vitro corrosion behaviour of biodegradable Mg–Zr–Ca alloys

  • Ying-Long ZhouAffiliated withDepartment of Mechatronics Engineering, Foshan University Email author 
  • , Yuncang LiAffiliated withInstitute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University Email author 
  • , Dong-Mei LuoAffiliated withDepartment of Mechatronics Engineering, Foshan University
  • , Cuie WenAffiliated withFaculty of Engineering and Industrial Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology
  • , Peter HodgsonAffiliated withInstitute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University

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The microstructures, mechanical properties, corrosion behaviour and biocompatibility of the Mg–Zr–Ca alloys have been investigated for potential use in orthopaedic applications. The microstructures of the alloys were examined using X-ray diffraction analysis, optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The mechanical properties of Mg–Zr–Ca alloys were determined from compressive tests. The corrosion behaviour has been investigated using an immersion test and electrochemical measurement. The biocompatibility was evaluated by cell growth factor using osteoblast-like SaOS2 cell. The experimental results indicate that the hot-rolled Mg–Zr–Ca alloys exhibit much finer microstructures than the as-cast Mg–Zr–Ca alloys which show coarse microstructures. The compressive strength of the hot-rolled alloys is much higher than that of the as-cast alloys and the human bone, which would offer appropriate mechanical properties for orthopaedic applications. The corrosion resistance of the alloys can be enhanced significantly by hot-rolling process. Hot-rolled Mg–0.5Zr–1Ca alloy (wt %) exhibits the lowest corrosion rate among all alloys studied in this paper. The hot-rolled Mg–0.5Zr–1Ca and Mg–1Zr–1Ca alloys exhibit better biocompatibility than other studied alloys and possess advanced mechanical properties, corrosion resistance and biocompatibility, suggesting that they have a great potential to be good candidates for orthopaedic applications.