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Orthopedic Biomaterials





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.


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