The research on magnesium as a biomedical material has recently reached an early stage of maturity: the mechanical properties of the materials, as well as the biocompatibility, are now undeniably recognized as suitable for orthopedical implantation. The research trend has moved from the avant-garde experimentation to a more practical attitude: focusing on finding solutions to the well-known issues that have been recurring in the last five years.
Among the recognized issues with magnesium as a biomaterial, the quick rate of degradation in biological environment still represents the major challenge to tackle. Meotec´s strategy has consisted, since the company´s foundation, in the surface treatment known as Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO), on which we´ve gained an extensive amount of know-how.
Moving in the frame of the research trends, our material of choice for the biomedical investigations was Mg-Y-REE. Years of experimentation led to the determination of an ideal alloy composition, as well as the successful development of the ideal PEO synthesis conditions (electrolyte + parameters) for the desired corrosion protection.
The subsequent development of our own custom alloy of the Mg-Ca-Zn family posed us with a significant challenge: the PEO synthesis parameters that brought to the excellent results on Mg-Y-REE do not grant the same excellent properties if applied one-to-one on the new alloy.
This study focuses on finding a parameter optimization for PEO treatment on Mg-Ca-Zn alloys, in order to ideally match the proven material properties on Mg-Y-REE. A wide range of synthesis parameters is presented, with the corresponding quantitative morphological and corrosion measurements for every treatment. A range of candidates is identified as worthwhile of further aimed investigation.