Titanium is also used due to its lightweight nature and exceptional corrosion resistance. However, these excellent properties come with a cost. The raw materials and processing of titanium alloys are relatively expensive, which limits their applications to high-end products such as fan blades in aircraft engines, navy ship components, medical implants, surgical tools, jewellery and connecting rods on expensive sports cars.
Here in our research group at Monash, we use titanium alloys in the fabrication of personalised orthopaedic implants. Titanium alloys are bio-compatible, which means they perform very well in the extreme environmental conditions of the human body. Therefore, they are the perfect candidates to replace damaged bone tissues. We design architectured structures to change the porosity and the mechanical performance of titanium to match the required density and performance of the host bone. These beautiful porous structures also allow the bone to grow into the implant over time and promote stronger interlocking.
Personalised medical devices are shaping the healthcare industry, and with the advances in manufacturing technologies, such as additive manufacturing, we are now in the new era of exploring novel designs, such as architectured structures, for medical implants.