Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanotubes that Heal: Engineering Better Orthopedic Implants

Fibroblasts growing on titanium alloy coated with nanotubes
Fibroblasts growing on titanium alloy coated with nanotubes

Abstract:
Titanium and its alloys have a leg up on all other materials used to make the orthopedic implants used by surgeons to repair damaged bones and joints. They are light, super-strong, and virtually inert inside the body. But whether the implants are destined for your knee, your hip, your spine or your jaw, the silvery metal has one big drawback.

By Marcia Goodrich

Nanotubes that Heal: Engineering Better Orthopedic Implants

Houghton, MI | Posted on May 19th, 2010

"Titanium has a mirror surface," says Tolou Shokufar, a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics. Cells don't adhere to it very well, so implants are often roughened up before they are placed in the body.

A good way to roughen titanium is to etch nanotubes into it, since they provide a superb surface for bone cells to grasp onto as part of the healing process. But etching nanotubes in the titanium alloy preferred by surgeons is not cheap. Conventional techniques require platinum, which costs over $1,700 an ounce.

Through her PhD work with Professor Craig Friedrich, director of the Multi-scale Technologies Institute, Shokufar has developed a less expensive way to etch nanotubes into the titanium alloy. In a weak solution of ammonium fluoride, she immerses two rods, one of the alloy, another of copper, and hooks them up to a power source. An electrical current flows into the copper, through the solution and out the titanium.

"It corrodes the titanium dioxide layer on the titanium in the form of a tube," Shokufar says, making nanotubes about seven microns long and a hundred nanometers in diameter. Growing the ideal tube takes about two hours.

Then she applies heat and pressure to the titanium alloy, annealing the nanotubes to give them a hydrophilic, crystalline structure. The surface not only attracts water, tests show it provides a friendly place for cells to grow. Shokufar has conducted experiments with fibroblasts—cells that make scar tissue—showing they grow faster on a layer of her titanium dioxide nanotubes than on the unaltered surface of the titanium alloy. Next, she aims to do a similar experiment with bone-growing osteoblasts.

Because the nanotubes are chemically identical to the titanium alloy, Shokufar expects that her innovation could be approved for medical use with relative ease. It may also have a wide variety of other applications, ranging from drug delivery to solar cells to hydrogen generation.

Her technique seems simple, but it didn't start out that way. "It took a lot of time to figure out," she says. "I'd spend days and days under the SEM, and when I went to sleep, I saw nanotubes inside my eyelids."

It's been worth it to see the perfect sheets of nanotubes grow under her care, however. "I really like them," she says. "They are like my babies."

####

About Michigan Technological University
Michigan Technological University (mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 130 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Marcia Goodrich

906-487-2343

Copyright © Michigan Technological University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Traffic jam in empty space: New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum January 22nd, 2017

A big nano boost for solar cells: Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies January 21st, 2017

Explaining how 2-D materials break at the atomic level January 20th, 2017

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology: Research helps to make the most of nanoscale catalytic effects for nanotechnology January 20th, 2017

Possible Futures

Traffic jam in empty space: New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum January 22nd, 2017

A big nano boost for solar cells: Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies January 21st, 2017

A toolkit for transformable materials: How to design materials with reprogrammable shape and function January 20th, 2017

Explaining how 2-D materials break at the atomic level January 20th, 2017

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Captured on video: DNA nanotubes build a bridge between 2 molecular posts: Research may lead to new lines of direct communication with cells January 9th, 2017

Nano-chimneys can cool circuits: Rice University scientists calculate tweaks to graphene would form phonon-friendly cones January 4th, 2017

WPI researchers build liquid biopsy chip that detects metastatic cancer cells in blood December 15th, 2016

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Nanomedicine

New research helps to meet the challenges of nanotechnology: Research helps to make the most of nanoscale catalytic effects for nanotechnology January 20th, 2017

Chemists Cook up New Nanomaterial and Imaging Method: Nanomaterials can store all kinds of things, including energy, drugs and other cargo January 19th, 2017

'5-D protein fingerprinting' could give insights into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's January 19th, 2017

New active filaments mimic biology to transport nano-cargo: A new design for a fully biocompatible motility engine transports colloidal particles faster than diffusion with active filaments January 11th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project