Development of a new zirconia-toughened alumina: Promising mechanical properties and absence of in vitro carcinogenicity

G. Maccauro, G. Bianchino, S. Sangiorgi, G. Magnani, D. Marotta, P. F. Manicone, Luca Raffaelli, P. Rossi Iommetti, A. Stewart, A. Cittadini, A. Sgambato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High purity alumina as well as zirconia ceramics have been widely used as orthopaedic implant biomaterials and dental devices displaying optimal, but sometimes exclusive, mechanical properties. In order to combine the advantages of alumina and zirconia ceramic materials different types of composites have been developed in which either zirconia is dispersed in an alumina matrix or vice versa. Orthopaedic and dental implant biomaterials are expected to be in contact with living tissues for a long period of time and their long term toxicity must be carefully evaluated. In this study we report the development of a high performance chromia-doped Zirconia Toughened Alumina (ZTA) material which displays promising mechanical properties in terms of hardness, strength and fracture toughness that make it suitable for prosthesis even for small joints. The long-term biocompatibility of this material was also evaluated, mainly in terms of DNA damage, mutagenicity and cancerogenetic potential in mammalian cells. The results obtained suggest that this new ZTA material does not display any long-term carcinogenic effect and it is suitable for biomedical applications from a cancerogenetic point of view. In conclusion, we report the development of a new chromia-doped ZTA material with interesting properties both from a mechanical and a biocompatibility point of view which warrant further studies on its suitability as a candidate biomaterial for orthopaedic implants and dental devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-779
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • Biocompatibility
  • Carcinogenicity
  • Ceramics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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