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Structural investigation of Mg-3Ca, Mg-3Zn-1Ca and Mg-3Zn-3Ca as cast alloys

  Magnesium alloys made of Mg-Zn-Ca system are interesting, because of possible application as bioresorbable cardiovascular stents or orthopaedic implants [1÷3]. During the last ten years, rapid growth of research in the application of magnesium and its alloys as biomaterials has been observed [4÷6]. Usage of magnesium based bone implants instead of those made of titanium or steel allows to avoid the removal surgery. Mg is the lightest of all structural metals with density close to those typical for cortical bone (1.75÷2.1 g/cm3). Other material parameters, like Young’s modulus (~45 GPa) are also similar [3]. Moreover, Mg is considered as biocompatible and non-toxic material and has been shown to increase the rate of new bone formation - it is an important ion in the formation of the biological apatites [3]. It was reported that the adult person normally consumes about 300÷400 mg of magnesium every day and an excess of Mg2+ is excreted through the urine [7, 8]. Magnesium is a cofactor for many enzymes and stabilized the structures of DNA and RNA [7, 8]. It is worth noticing that calcium and zinc are also recognized as biocompatible elements [1, 9]. A lot of studies have been performed on rare elements or/and Al containing alloys [10, 11], but these additions increase the cost of possible implant, and biocompatibility of RE is doubtful. An addition of Al can influence human nerves and induces Alzheimer disease [12]. From the metallurgical point of view, alloys made of Mg-Zn-Ca system can undergo solid-solution hardening and Ca is believed to be an effective grain refiner [13÷15]. In spite of possible benefits from magnesium based bone implants, there are a few important questions, which remain open up to date. There are problems with precise control of corrosion rate, which is usually very rapid and connected with hydrogen evolution. Rapid release of H2 in a high amount may cause inflammation process or even death [16]. Thu[...]

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