Ti15Zr4Nb4Ta and Ti29Nb13Ta4.6Zr, which do not contain the potentially cytotoxic elements V and Al, represent a new generation of alloys with improved corrosion resistance, mechanical properties, and cytocompatibility. Recently it has become possible for the apatite forming ability of these alloys to be ascertained by treatment with alkali, CaCl 2, heat, and water (ACaHW). In order to confirm the actual in vivo bioactivity of commercially pure titanium (cp-Ti) and these alloys after subjecting them to ACaHW treatment at different temperatures, the bone bonding strength of implants made from these materials was evaluated. The failure load between implant and bone was measured for treated and untreated plates at 4, 8, 16, and 26 weeks after implantation in rabbit tibia. The untreated implants showed almost no bonding, whereas all treated implants showed successful bonding by 4 weeks, and the failure load subsequently increased with time. This suggests that a simple and economical ACaHW treatment could successfully be used to impart bone bonding bioactivity to Ti metal and Ti-Zr-Nb-Ta alloys in vivo. In particular, implants heat treated at 700 °C exhibited significantly greater bone bonding strength, as well as augmented in vitro apatite formation, in comparison with those treated at 600 °C. Thus, with this improved bioactive treatment process these advantageous Ti-Zr-Nb-Ta alloys can serve as useful candidates for orthopedic devices.
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