This proposal is prepared with the help of an Exploratory Award, which included a Research Feasibility Study. The report on the study is included in this proposal. This project addresses a new concept in speciality materials for medical applications. Continuing advances in the areas of clinical science involving the use of implants inside the human body, have created demand for materials that need to satisfy the twin needs of biocompatibility and special properties, such as the shape memory effect and superelasticity. Titanium Nickel based alloys possess the aforementioned properties and their use is rapidly gaining acceptance. Nickel however, is well known to cause adverse effects to the body, i.e. allergenic reactions. Although biocompatibility tests have not detected adverse effects, complete removal of nickel from shape memory alloys would eliminate the chance of any toxic effects. Additions of elements, such as zirconium, niobium, tantalum and platinum, which are essentially biocompatible, when alloyed with titanium may exhibit the shape memory effect. This research programme is designed to identify suitable alloys in this group, which would have all the beneficial shape memory effects of the titanium nickel based alloys and also reduce adverse biological responses.
Whether a good combination can be found is still a risk, because the shape memory ability depends on close tolerances regarding alloying and production processes. This project would produce an alloy that is more attractive to the medical profession. Indirect benefit is that indications are given that the alloy possesses better properties with regard to formability. It may increase the use of titanium based memory alloys in new applications such as implanted drug delivery systems, endoscopy, laproscopy. It is assumed that in a couple of years nickel will be exchanged for alternatives by the whole medical world, followed by all areas where materials are in long term and close contact with the human body. All this opening a broad field of market potential for nickel free shape memory alloys and the companies in possession of it.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
OX14 4RX Abingdon