Study of the in vitro corrosion behavior and biocompatibility of Zr-2.5Nb and Zr-1.5Nb-1Ta (at%) crystalline alloys

F. Rosalbino, D. Macciò, P. Giannoni, R. Quarto, A. Saccone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The in vitro corrosion behavior and biocompatibility of two Zr alloys, Zr-2.5Nb, employed for the manufacture of CANDU reactor pressure tubes, and Zr-1.5Nb-1Ta (at%), for use as implant materials have been assessed and compared with those of Grade 2 Ti, which is known to be a highly compatible metallic biomaterial. The in vitro corrosion resistance was investigated by open circuit potential and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements, as a function of exposure time to an artificial physiological environment (Ringer's solution). Open circuit potential values indicated that both the Zr alloys and Grade 2 Ti undergo spontaneous passivation due to spontaneously formed oxide film passivating the metallic surface, in the aggressive environment. It also indicated that the tendency for the formation of a spontaneous oxide is greater for the Zr-1.5Nb-1Ta alloy and that this oxide has better corrosion protection characteristics than the ones formed on Grade 2 Ti or on the Zr-2.5Nb alloy. EIS study showed high impedance values for all samples, increasing with exposure time, indicating an improvement in corrosion resistance of the spontaneous oxide film. The fit obtained suggests a single passive film presents on the metals surface, improving their resistance with exposure time, presenting the highest values to the Zr-1.5Nb-1Ta alloy. For the biocompatibility analysis human osteosarcoma cell line (Saos-2) and human primary bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) were used. Biocompatibility tests showed that Saos-2 cells grow rapidly, independently of the surface, due to reduced dependency from matrix deposition and microenvironment recognition. BMSC instead display a reduced proliferation, possibly caused by a reduced crosstalk with the metal surface microenvironment. However, once the substrate has been colonized, BMSC seem to respond properly to osteoinduction stimuli, thus supporting a substantial equivalence in the biocompatibility among the Zr alloys and Grade 2 titanium. In summary, high in vitro corrosion resistance together with satisfactory biocompatibility make the Zr-2.5Nb and Zr-1.5Nb-1Ta crystalline alloys promising biomaterials for surgical implants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1302
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Study of the in vitro corrosion behavior and biocompatibility of Zr-2.5Nb and Zr-1.5Nb-1Ta (at%) crystalline alloys'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this