Tinkering with Titanium
By Lawrence Goodman / November / December 2007
December 4th, 2007
Artificial hips, knees, and shoulders don’t always take as they should. Titanium, the metal used for orthopaedic implants, sometimes fails to meld properly to a patient’s bone. In the September 12 issue of Nanotechnology , Associate Professor of Engineering Thomas Webster and several other Brown engineers reported a possible fix. They found that anodizing the titanium, which creates a pitted coating, and then covering it with carbon nanotubes spurs a greater rate of bone-cell growth on the metal. In fact, bone cells grew twice as fast on the titanium covered in nanotubes than they did on the titanium used in standard orthopaedic implants.