Last year there were over 600,000 total knee replacements in the US. Most implants are made from a cobalt-chromium alloy. But there is always room for improvement. Other metals such as titanium more closely match the modulus of elasticity of bone and have better biocompatibility. But titanium lacks wear resistance. We have sponsored a project with the material science department of a local university to investigate techniques for improving wear resistance of titanium alloys. To quantify our results we designed and built a weight loss wear testing machine. After nearly half-million cycles the machine is ready for the students.
Should you wait on that knee replacement?…probably not. At ARC we sponsor university research projects each year. It is always fun to work with smart young minds. I have a chance to see which students might be ARC candidates. And we always learn something new. We have applied coatings to titanium which make it bulletproof, let’s see if it works for knees!