UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical Engineering have developed a method to manufacture zinc-based metal matrix nanocomposites (MMNCs) for functional applications, such as stents.
The materials presently used for medical stents all have certain drawbacks. For example, iron-based stents have a slow degradation rate, which leads to long-term side effects or requires eventual removal. Magnesium stents dissolve too quickly, as do polymer stents. Zinc has generated interest for stent applications due to its ideal corrosion rate and high biocompatibility. However, pure zinc lacks the mechanical integrity required for stents. A zinc composite material could offer an ideal solution but has been difficult to develop until now.
UCLA researchers have developed a novel and cost-effect method to manufacture zinc-based metal matrix nanocomposites (MMNCs) for functional applications, such as stents. This approach uses cold compaction, followed by casting. Ultrasonic processing further improves particle dispersion. The nanoparticles added to the zinc metal matrix enhance the mechanical properties without significantly affecting the corrosion rate. Moreover, the inherent radiopaque property of zinc removes the extra process of embedding precious metals in stents for fluoroscopic visibility. These zinc nanocomposites can also be applied to galvanization for anti-corrosion measures.
Metal matrix nanocomposites (MMNCs), zinc nanocomposites, biomaterials, stents, zinc metal matrix, vacuum-assisted casting