SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, vol.6, 2016 (SCI-Expanded)
Titanium alloys are receiving increasing research interest for the development of metallic stent materials due to their excellent biocompatibility, corrosion resistance, non-magnetism and radiopacity. In this study, a new series of Ti-Ta-Hf-Zr (TTHZ) alloys including Ti-37Ta-26Hf-13Zr, Ti-40Ta-22Hf-11.7Zr and Ti-45Ta-18.4Hf-10Zr (wt.%) were designed using the d-electron theory combined with electron to atom ratio (e/a) and molybdenum equivalence (Mo-eq) approaches. The microstructure of the TTHZ alloys were investigated using optical microscopy, XRD, SEM and TEM and the mechanical properties were tested using a Vickers micro-indenter, compression and tensile testing machines. The cytocompatibility of the alloys was assessed using osteoblast-like cells in vitro. The as-cast TTHZ alloys consisted of primarily beta and omega nanoparticles and their tensile strength, yield strength, Young's modulus and elastic admissible strain were measured as being between 1000.7-1172.8 MPa, 1000.7-1132.2 MPa, 71.7-79.1 GPa and 1.32-1.58%, respectively. The compressive yield strength of the as-cast alloys ranged from 1137.0 to 1158.0 MPa. The TTHZ alloys exhibited excellent cytocompatibility as indicated by their high cell viability ratios, which were close to that of CP-Ti. The TTHZ alloys can be anticipated to be promising metallic stent materials by virtue of the unique combination of extraordinarily high elastic admissible strain, high mechanical strength and excellent biocompatibility.