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what is titanium foam?

Titanium foam is a new biomaterial, developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials in Dresden, Germany. It’s a porous material that may be a better choice for replacing and strengthening bones than solid titanium implants.

The metal is well tolerated by the body, but its stiffness can be a problem when bone grows around it. The result is that the bone ends up with more stress than it should, says Peter Quadbeck, a researcher at the institute.

In order to develop a foam that could work as a bone substitute, Quadbeck and his team needed a way to make the material more porous than titanium alloys already used for bone-substitute implants. “Because of the high porosity, bone would be able to grow into it better, and it would be more likely to remain in place,” says Quadbeck.

Using a space-holder material, such as sugar, to form the pores was the first step in this direction. By varying the amount of space holder added, different pore morphologies were developed, as indicated by the X-ray diffraction (XRD) results. The nature of the relationship between the amount of space holder and the final percentage of porosity was also investigated. It was shown that the relationship exhibited a complex one-phase exponential decay function in the increasing form, where the percentage of porosity appeared to dramatically increase by increasing the amount of space holder at first, and then it slowly decreased to an asymptotic level.