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Fatigue Life of Titanium Alloys Fabricated by Additive Layer Manufacturing Techniques for Dental Implants

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Additive layer deposition techniques such as electron beam melting (EBM) and laser beam melting (LBM) have been utilized to fabricate rectangular plates of Ti-6Al-4V with extra low interstitial (ELI) contents. The layer-by-layer deposition techniques resulted in plates that have different surface finishes which can impact significantly on the fatigue life by providing potential sites for fatigue cracks to initiate. The fatigue life of Ti-6Al-4V ELI alloys fabricated by EBM and LBM deposition techniques was investigated by three-point testing of rectangular beams of as-fabricated and electro-discharge machined surfaces under stress-controlled conditions at 10 Hz until complete fracture. Fatigue life tests were also performed on rolled plates of Ti-6Al-4V ELI, regular Ti-6Al-4V, and CP Ti as controls. Fatigue surfaces were characterized by scanning electron microscopy to identify the crack initiation site in the various types of specimen surfaces. The fatigue life data were analyzed statistically using both analysis of variance techniques and the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis method with the Gehan-Breslow test. The results indicate that the LBM Ti-6Al-4V ELI material exhibits a longer fatigue life than the EBM counterpart and CP Ti, but a shorter fatigue life compared to rolled Ti-6Al-4V ELI. The difference in the fatigue life behavior may be largely attributed to the presence of rough surface features that act as fatigue crack initiation sites in the EBM material.

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This study was partially supported by a Research Grant DE018395 from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Bethesda, MD 20892.

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Correspondence to Kwai S. Chan.

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Manuscript submitted January 20, 2012.

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Chan, K.S., Koike, M., Mason, R.L. et al. Fatigue Life of Titanium Alloys Fabricated by Additive Layer Manufacturing Techniques for Dental Implants. Metall Mater Trans A 44, 1010–1022 (2013).

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