Self-organized TiO2 nanotube layer on Ti–Nb–Zr alloys: growth, characterization, and effect on corrosion behavior

  • Alberto Z. Fatichi
  • Mariana G. Mello
  • Rubens Caram
  • Alessandra CremascoEmail author
Research Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Electrochemistry and Nanotechnology


Ti alloys are widely applied in implanted biomedical devices due to their unique mechanical and biological performances. A strategy employed to improve bone integration on orthopedic and dental implants is to grow a self-organized TiO2 nanotube layer on the surface of titanium alloy implants. This paper describes the formation of self-organized TiO2 nanotubes on Ti–35Nb–2Zr and Ti–35Nb–4Zr alloys by the anodization process, as well as the effects of Zr content on TiO2 phase stability. The morphological and chemical characteristics of the nanotubes were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray photoelectron microscopy. In addition, a comparison was made of the electrochemical stabilities of TiO2 nanotube-coated surfaces and surfaces without nanotubes, which revealed higher corrosion resistance for the nanotube-modified surface. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy results were fitted with two-time constant equivalent circuit representing the barrier layer (nanotube bottom) and the porous layer (nanotube wall). The addition of Zr suppressed ω-phase formation, preserving the alloy’s low elastic modulus (64 GPa). This Zr addition also delayed the anatase-to-rutile transformation and slightly increased the nanotubes’ length to 1.14 µm. These features make the Ti–35Nb–4Zr alloy a very good candidate for use in the biomedical field, especially for applications that require low elastic modulus with enhanced corrosion resistance.

Graphic abstract


Anodic oxidation Titanium dioxide nanotubes Ti–35Nb–xZr alloys Surface modification 



The authors are grateful to the LNNano (National Nanotechnology Laboratory) at the CNPEM (National Center for Research on Energy and Materials) for allowing access to its SEM facilities. The authors also acknowledge the financial supports of the Brazilian research funding agencies FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation) under Grants 2014/00159-2 and 2016/24693-3; and CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development) under Grant 405054/2016-5, and also thank the Brazilian niobium mining and processing company, CBMM, for supplying the Nb used in this study.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  2. 2.School of Applied SciencesUniversity of Campinas (UNICAMP)LimeiraBrazil

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