Titanium is the leading material for artificial knee and hip joints because it’s strong, wear-resistant and nontoxic, but a discovery by Rice University physicists shows that the gold standard for artificial joints can be improved with the addition of some actual gold.
A new study in Science Advances describes the properties of a 3-to-1 mixture of titanium and gold with a specific atomic structure that imparts hardness. “It’s four times harder than pure titanium, which is what’s currently being used in most dental implants and replacement joints,” said Emily Morosan, lead scientist behind the study.
Crystal structure of beta titanium-3 gold
Related Glossary Terms
Hardness is a measure of the resistance of a material to surface indentation or abrasion. There is no absolute scale for hardness. In order to express hardness quantitatively, each type of test has its own scale, which defines hardness. Indentation hardness obtained through static methods is measured by Brinell, Rockwell, Vickers and Knoop tests. Hardness without indentation is measured by a dynamic method, known as the Scleroscope test.