Mechanically Assisted Electrochemical Degradation of Alumina-TiC Composites

  • Hetal U. Maharaja
  • Guigen ZhangEmail author


Alumina-TiC composite material is a tough ceramic composite with excellent hardness, wear resistance and oxidation resistance in dry and high-temperature conditions. In aqueous conditions, however, it is likely to be electrochemically active facilitating charge transfer processes due to the conductive nature of TiC. For application as an orthopedic biomaterial, it is crucial to assess the electrochemical behavior of this composite, especially under a combined mechanical and electrochemical environment. In this study, we examined the mechanically assisted electrochemical performance of alumina-TiC composite in an aqueous environment. The spontaneous electrochemical response to brushing abrasion was measured. Changes in the magnitude of electrochemical current with abrasion test conditions and possible causal relationship to the alteration in surface morphology were examined. Results showed that the alumina matrix underwent abrasive wear with evidence of microploughing and grain boundary damage. Chemical analysis revealed TiO2 formation in the abraded region, indicating oxidation of the conductive TiC domain. Furthermore, wear debris from alumina abrasion appeared to affect reaction kinetics at the composite-electrolyte interface. From this work, we established that the composite undergoes abrasion assisted electrochemical degradation even in gentle abrasive conditions and the severity of degradation is related to temperature and conditions of test environment.


Alumina-TiC Ceramic composite Abrasion Low load Oxidation Electrochemical Brushing Mechanically assisted electrochemical degradation Oxidative wear Microploughing 



The authors would like to acknowledge the support from the Department of Bioengineering and the Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering at Clemson University. Funding support for this work is provided by a storage media company through a research agreement with Clemson University under contract number 146422 and by the Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering at Clemson University.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BioengineeringClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Biological Interfaces of EngineeringClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringClemson UniversityClemsonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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