Metallurgical failure analysis of various implant materials used in orthopedic applications

  • B. Aksakal
  • Ö. S. Yildirim
  • H. Gul
Features Orthopedics


Through metallurgical SEM analysis, it was found that 42% of failures occurred due to corrosion plus erosion-corrosion, 16.5% were due to inclusions and stress gaps that could be correlated oto fatigue, 16.5% had traces of production impurities, and 25% showed fatigue via ductile-type failures. The results/reasons correlation can be summarized as follows:
  • • In the investigation of a total hip prosthesis, the fracture was multiorigined, probably due to the presence of manufacturing defects in both surfaces of the device; was associated with poor design of the component; and introduced points of high stress concentration.

  • • The study revealed that the failure of the stainless steel femoral compression plates occurred by a fretting-fatigue mechanism under the action of low nominal stresses and unidirectional bending.

  • • The failure of femoral compression titanium plates occurred by corrosion fatigue promoted by the presence of intense localized corrosion and intergranular cracking.

  • • The failure of hollow spinal rods occurred by overload caused by the intense formation of pitting corrosion during service. The pitting was associated with the presence of superficial manufacturing routes.

As a result of the analysis of various implant materials, the main reasons for failure are corrosive attack, manufacturing defects, and nonstandard-caused failures. Biocompatible inorganic materials, such as hydroxy-apatite coating with some binders, would make the dissolution of metal ions difficult and so may delay corrosion and wear and also minimize the loosening of implants from bone.


Fatigue Failure Analysis Scanning Electron Micro Intergranular Crack Hydroxyapatite Coating 
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Copyright information

© ASM International 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Aksakal
    • 1
  • Ö. S. Yildirim
    • 2
  • H. Gul
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringAtatürk University, Engineering FacultyErzurumTurkey
  2. 2.Department of OrthopedicsAtatürk University, Faculty of MedicineErzurumTurkey
  3. 3.Vocational School of Technical SciencesUniversity of FiratElazigTurkey

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