Enhancing the biocompatibility of 3D printed Ti-6AI-4V ELI alloy with with diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 17:14 by Jake Reneman
Orthopaedic implants are often required to restore normal functionality to the human body as a result of damage from illness, disease or injury. Ti-6AI-4V ELI is the current material of choice for orthopaedic surgeons it is biocompatible and has excellent mechanical properties. Recent advancements in additive manufacturing (AM) techniques have allowed for the increasing customisation of Ti-6AI-4V ELI implants to complement natural variations in human anatomy. This can result in better patient outcomes and increase their post-operation quality of life. As biomedical implants need to be in the body long term, it is vital to understand their biological interaction. Despite the prevalence of titanium alloy based implants, there are studies which indicate potential issues with regards to their osseointegration. Diamond-like carbon (DLC) is a thin film material which could be used to significantly enhance the longevity of an implant. DLC is an FDA approved material for biological applications. It has high wear resistance, corrosion resistance, high mechanical hardness and a low coefficient of friction. DLC coatings have been demonstrated to enhance in vitro osseointegration of cells in various studies. We coated AM Ti-6AI-4V ELI with DLC to examine whether its biological properties can be improved. From the outcomes of our cell proliferation studies conducted using Saos-2 osteosarcoma cells, our DLC coatings significantly enhanced the the rate of proliferation of cells as compared to the uncoated materials. Cell mineralisation studies also suggested that DLC coatings enhanced the calcium production of Saos-2 cells as compared to the uncoated materials, indicating that the cells on DLC materials were at a more advanced state of differentiation.