In the past few years, titanium has become one of the most sought-after metals, being used in a multitude of industries. The metal is appreciated for its high resistance to corrosion and incredible strength, being employed for medical implants, airframes and titanium rings. A lot of items are created from this metal, including the titanium rod, titanium alloy bar and titanium coil.
The “career” of titanium is only at the beginning, as researchers are constantly finding new uses for it. Titanium alloys are of particular importance, as they can be easily combined with other materials and increase the value of the resulting equipment piece. Keep on reading and discover the latest academic research into titanium usage.
Transparent titanium dioxide nanotubes for medical implants
Titanium dioxide nanotubes have recently begun to be used for therapeutic applications. Medical specialists have chosen these for titanium-based implants, researching how these would perform in osteogenic surface treatments. These nanostructures have physical characteristics that can be finely tuned, which means a higher acceptance rate for the said implant.
The usage of titanium alloys for orthopedic implants is not news. However, the idea to opt for a nano-scale is new and quite innovative. This has proven an effective method to improve the mechanical fixation, reducing the time patients needed to heal. Titanium alloys have excellent biocompatibility, hence another advantage.
Asphaltic concrete containing titanium dioxide
Researchers have concentrated on determining whether the asphaltic concrete containing titanium dioxide is superior to the conventional version. The titanium dioxide powder, derived from rutile (contains titanium in the highest percentage), can be used to produce asphalt concrete. And, according to the latest research, this form has a lower mixing and compaction temperature.
Compared to the conventional asphalt concrete, this version can be used, without the physical and mechanical resistance to fatigue being affected. Several tests were used to determine the characteristics of both asphalt types. The conclusion was that the titanium dioxide incorporated into the asphalt mix can improve its overall performance (fatigue properties).
Titanium-prepared platelet rich fibrin as treatment for intrabony defects
In a new study published this year, it was determined that titanium-prepared platelet rich fibrin could be used to treat intrabony defects. The usage of this treatment solution, as a regenerative material, can reduce defect depth and increase overall bone density. Moreover, it can actually stimulate both hard and soft tissues to heal faster.
Researchers have considered replacing the commonly-used glass tubes with those made from titanium, in preparing the platelet rich fibrin. This has proven more effective in activating the platelets, in comparison to the silica activators found in the glass tubes. Thus, the fibrin obtained was more firm.
More research is however needed, in order to determine the effect of this treatment solution over bone regeneration (on a long term basis). Provided no consequences are identified, this autologous preparation will become one of the most clinically effective and economical regenerative materials for the treatment of intrabony defects.
Disinfectant spray with titanium dioxide nanoparticles
It is a well-known fact that mobile phones have a high bacterial contamination rate. In one particular study, researchers concentrated on the usage of a titanium dioxide nanoparticles spray for the disinfection of mobile phones used by endodontists.
Before applying the titanium dioxide nanospray, researchers took samples from various mobile phones. All taken cultures were positive. Upon applying the spray, it was determined that the bacterial population decreased significantly.
The nanospray reduced the nosocomial pathogens, suggesting that the routing disinfection could reduce the risk of associated infections. The bacterial load was reduced as a result of the photocatalytic properties titanium dioxide presents.
What happened was that the surface of the mobile phone became coated with titanium dioxide nanospray. When the respective surface was irradiated, the bacteria were destroyed by the titanium dioxide nanoparticles. More importantly, the effect of the spray was visible even one week after the application.
New titanium plate for bone tissue repair
Titanium plates have been used for bone tissue repair for some time now. However, it was discovered that they can lead to bone embrittlement, especially when the bone and the titanium plate have been in contact for too long. These risks forced medical specialists to perform removal surgery, which had its own possible complications).
Researchers have developed a new titanium fiber plate, one that does not present the above-mentioned risks (bone embrittlement). The main idea behind this research was to eliminate the necessity of removal surgery (no additional risks).
The titanium fiber plate was created by the compression of titanium fibers, at regular room temperature. The fiber shape remained the same, which allowed the resulting plates to share similar characteristics with natural bone. This refers especially to the stiffness level (differences in such characteristics are mainly responsible for the subsequent bone embrittlement).
The development of the new titanium fiber plate could change the field of bone tissue repair and regenerative medicine in general. Thus, these titanium fiber plates could be placed permanently, without removal surgery being necessary any more.
In 2018, scientists seem to be concentrated on how titanium could be more efficiently used for medical applications. However, we are also seeing titanium being employed for additional reasons – the titanium dioxide concrete asphalt and the nanospray disinfectant.
Many more studies are on the way, identifying new potential uses for the metal of the future. For example, researchers are trying to determine the corrosion behavior of the titanium wire or discover new properties for the grade 5 titanium sheet.
Considering the extensive research made in the field of titanium, it is safe to assume that we will only see more and more applications in the near future. A lot of these experimental studies regard titanium alloys, as these are found useful by the military and aerospace industries (not only).