The link between biology and engineering
Biomaterials are designed to make different biomedical devices which are used to minimise or even avoid the adverse effect of diseases and injuries. These devices must replace the function of human tissue in a safe and reliable way. Metals are the material of choice for many biomedical applications due to their good mechanical properties. They are used not only for load bearing implants such as knee and hip implants but also for other applications such as heart pacemakers and valves.
When metals are implanted into the body they are subject to the corrosiveness of the human fluids, which can lead to the release of metallic ions. Furthermore, wear particles can be also released due to the relative motion between two surfaces. The nature of the metallic ions and wear particles will determine the biological response, and therefore the success of the biomedical device.
Both engineering and biological sciences work together in order to better understand the behaviour of the materials and the response to the body to achieve better medical solutions.
The importance of bio-tribocorrosion
The study of the interactions between tribology and corrosion in biological environments is known as biotribocorrosion. Passive metals are normally used for biomedical applications. An oxide film formed on them and protects the materials from corrosion. When wear is present in the system, the passive film is removed and the corrosion is enhanced.
My research project is focused on the investigation of new metals for biomedical applications. The corrosion and the tribocorrosion behaviour of the new candidate materials are being studied in biological environments.