Investigation into the surface modification of Ti-6Al-4V to facilitate antimicrobial ionic silver intergration for use in implantable orthopaedic devices
Ti-6Al-4V is commonly used for the manufacture of orthopaedic implants. The primary aim of these devices is to provide stabilisation of fractures or replacement of joints themselves. These orthopaedic devices may function well, but acute and chronic infections are potential complications that may necessitate the removal of the titanium device or implant. There are various techniques employed to minimise the infection rates, such as impregnation with antibiotics. Silver has long been known for its antimicrobial properties, and research is now turning to its use in orthopaedic implants. The titanium base material will need to have a certain surface roughness to create reservoirs for the ionic silver, so that these ions can be present when the device is implanted, and slowly released into the surrounding tissues.
The project aims to develop a scalable process for the surface modification of Ti-6Al-4V implants through the introduction of ionic silver onto the surface. The objectives will have two foci, namely, the surface preparation of the titanium material and the impregnation of the surface with ionic silver. The final stages of this project will look at the effectiveness of the ionic silver on the surface and will focus on the micro-biological side of the project.