Zn-Mg Microalloys

H&E of Zn-Mg explants

It is still an open challenge to find a biodegradable metallic material exhibiting sufficient mechanical properties and degradation behavior to serve as an arterial stent. In our new study, and summarized in publication entitled “Novel high-strength, low-alloys Zn-Mg (<0.1 wt% Mg) and their arterial biodegradation” published in Materials Science and Engineering C, Zn-Mg alloys of 0.002 (Zn-002Mg), 0.005 (Zn-005Mg) and 0.08 wt% Mg (Zn-08Mg) content were cast, extruded and drawn to 0.25 mm diameter, and evaluated as potential biodegradable stent materials. Structural analysis confirmed formation of Mg2Zn11 intermetallic in all three alloys with the average grain size decreasing with increasing Mg content. Tensile testing, fractography analysis and micro hardness measurements showed the best integration of strength, ductility and hardness for the Zn-08Mg alloy. Yield strength, tensile strength, and elongation to failure values of >200-300 MPa, >300-400 MPa, and >30% respectively, were recorded for Zn-08Mg. This metal appears to be the first formulated biodegradable material that satisfies benchmark values desirable for endovascular stenting. Unfortunately, the alloy reveals signs of age hardening and strain rate sensitivity, which need to be addressed before using this metal for stenting. The explants of Zn-08Mg alloy residing in the abdominal aorta of adult male Sprague-Dawley rats for 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6 and 11 months demonstrated similar, yet slightly elevated inflammation and neointimal activation for the alloy relative to what was recently reported for pure zinc.

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