Effect of Ca contamination on apatite formation in a Ti metal subjected to NaOH and heat treatments
It has long been known that titanium (Ti) metal bonds to living bone through an apatite layer formed on its surface in the living body after it had previously been subjected to NaOH and heat treatments and as a result had formed sodium titanate on its surface. These treatments were applied to a porous Ti metal layer on a total hip joint and the resultant joint has been in clinical use since 2007. It has been also demonstrated that the apatite formation on the treated Ti metal in the living body also occurred in an acelullar simulated body fluid (SBF) with ion concentrations nearly equal to those of the human blood plasma, and hence bone-bonding ability of the treated Ti metal can be evaluated using SBF in vitro. However, it was recently found that certain Ti metals subjected to the same NaOH and heat treatments display apatite formation in SBF which is decreased with the increasing volume of the NaOH solution used in some cases. This indicates that bone-bonding ability of the treated Ti metal varies with the volume of the NaOH solution used. In the present study, this phenomenon was systematically investigated using commercial NaOH reagents and is considered in terms of the structure and composition of the surface layers of the treated Ti metals. It was found that a larger amount of the calcium contamination in the NaOH reagent is concentrated on the surface of the Ti metal during the NaOH treatment with an increasing volume of the NaOH solution, and that this inhibited apatite formation on the Ti metal in SBF by suppressing Na ion release from the sodium titanate into the surrounding fluid. Even a Ca contamination level of 0.0005 % of the NaOH reagent was sufficient to inhibit apatite formation. On the other hand, another NaOH reagent with a nominal purity of just 97 % did not exhibit any such inhibition, since it contained almost no Ca contamination. This indicates that NaOH reagent must be carefully selected for obtaining reliable bone-bonding implants of Ti metal by the NaOH and heat treatments.
KeywordsSimulated Body Fluid Apatite Formation Sodium Titanate Calcium Titanate Nominal Purity
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