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

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Brad Ramshaw of Cornell University, as winner of the 2017 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize February 20th, 2017

Nominations Invited for $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience: Major international prize recognizes a visionary nanotechnology researcher February 20th, 2017

Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms: In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport February 20th, 2017

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

Possible Futures

Nominations Invited for $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience: Major international prize recognizes a visionary nanotechnology researcher February 20th, 2017

Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms: In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport February 20th, 2017

'Lossless' metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices February 20th, 2017

Particles from outer space are wreaking low-grade havoc on personal electronics February 19th, 2017

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Boron atoms stretch out, gain new powers: Rice University simulations demonstrate 1-D material's stiffness, electrical versatility January 26th, 2017

New stem cell technique shows promise for bone repair January 25th, 2017

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

Nanomedicine

Nominations Invited for $250,000 Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience: Major international prize recognizes a visionary nanotechnology researcher February 20th, 2017

Good vibrations help reveal molecular details: Rice University scientists combine disciplines to pinpoint small structures in unlabeled molecules February 15th, 2017

In-cell molecular sieve from protein crystal February 14th, 2017

Cedars-Sinai, UCLA Scientists Use New ‘Blood Biopsies’ With Experimental Device to Speed Cancer Diagnosis and Predict Disease Spread: Leading-Edge Research Is Part of National Cancer Moonshot Initiative February 13th, 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