skip to main content

Title: Rare-earth- and aluminum-free, high strength dilute magnesium alloy for Biomedical Applications
Abstract Lightweight, recyclable, and plentiful Mg alloys are receiving increased attention due to an exceptional combination of strength and ductility not possible from pure Mg. Yet, due to their alloying elements, such as rare-earths or aluminum, they are either not economical or biocompatible. Here we present a new rare-earth and aluminum-free magnesium-based alloy, with trace amounts of Zn, Ca, and Mn (≈ 2% by wt.). We show that the dilute alloy exhibits outstanding high strength and high ductility compared to other dilute Mg alloys. By direct comparison with annealed material of the same chemistry and using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high-resolution TEM (HR-TEM) and atom probe tomography analyses, we show that the high strength can be attributed to a number of very fine, Zn/Ca-containing nanoscale precipitates, along with ultra-fine grains. These findings show that forming a hierarchy of nanometer precipitates from just miniscule amounts of solute can invoke simultaneous high strength and ductility, producing an affordable, biocompatible Mg alloy.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1728224 1727495
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. To obtain thorough understandings of precipitation process in heat-treatable Mg-Ca-Zn alloy, we revisited the precipitation process of a Mg-0.3Ca-0.6 Zn (at.%) dilute alloy during isothermal aging at 200 °C using an aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope, atom probe tomography, and first-principles calculations. The monolayer G.P. zones form on the (0002)α plane in the peak-aged condition and transform into tri-atomic layer η'' and η' plates with a thickness of a single unit-cell height. The η' plates, then, form in pairs and stacks with energetically favorable 4–5 atomic layers of pure magnesium between the plates. While such a transformation path is similar to that seen in Mg-RE-Zn alloys (RE: rare-earth elements), the unique structure of coarse η1 plates that precipitate after the η' plates leads to a different precipitate microstructure evolution from the Mg-RE-Zn system. The η1 phase (Mg7Ca2Zn3) is unevenly distributed in the matrix after 100 h of aging and finally evolves to the equilibrium η phase (Mg10Ca3Zn6) phase with a hexagonal structure. First-principles calculations of energetics were performed to further identify the crystal structure and stability of the precipitates, supporting the following new precipitation sequence: S.S.S.S. → G.P. zones → η'' → η' → η' pairs and stacks / η1 → η 
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    The deformation behavior of the extruded magnesium alloys Mg2Nd and Mg2Yb was investigated at room temperature. By using in situ energy-dispersive synchrotron X-ray diffraction compression and tensile tests, accompanied by Elasto-Plastic Self-Consistent (EPSC) modeling, the differences in the active deformation systems were analyzed. Both alloying elements change and weaken the extrusion texture and form precipitates during extrusion and subsequent heat treatments relative to common Mg alloys. By varying the extrusion parameters and subsequent heat treatment, the strengths and ductility can be adjusted over a wide range while still maintaining a strength differential effect (SDE) of close to zero. Remarkably, the compressive and tensile yield strengths are similar and there is no mechanical anisotropy when comparing tensile and compressive deformation, which is desirable for industrial applications. Uncommon for Mg alloys, Mg2Nd shows a low tensile twinning activity during compression tests. We show that heat treatments promote the nucleation and growth of precipitates and increase the yield strengths isotopically up to 200 MPa. The anisotropy of the yield strength is reduced to a minimum and elongations to failure of about 0.2 are still achieved. At lower strengths, elongations to failure of up to 0.41 are reached. In the Mg2Yb alloy, adjusting the extrusion parameters enhances the rare-earth texture and reduces the grain size. Excessive deformation twinning is, however, observed, but despite this the SDE is still minimized. 
    more » « less
    more » « less
  4. Hexagonal close-packed (HCP) magnesium alloys are widely used in automotive and aerospace industries due to their low density and high specific-strength. Their applicability is mainly restricted due to poor formability and pronounced plastic anisotropy. The formability is usually improved by altering the chemistry (adding rare-earth elements like Y) or modulating the microstructure (e.g., grain refinement). However, grain refinement alone cannot yield the desired ductility, and the scarcity of rare-earth elements also limits the extent to which the alloying strategy can be used. To overcome these issues, in this work, it is proposed that the formability of Mg alloys can be improved by combining the grain refinement and alloying approaches. To quantitively explore this possibility, a crystal-plasticity-based constitutive model, which is sensitive to both alloying concentration and grain sizes, is developed. To demonstrate, the model is applied to study the combined effect of Y content and grain size on the mechanical responses of Mg alloy. The calculations are used to build maps of plastic anisotropy measures, such as tension–compression asymmetry ratio and Lankford coefficients, for a wide range of Y content and grain sizes. From these maps, the grain size that would yield the desired performance of Mg alloy for a fixed Y content can be identified. This work provides an accelerated pathway to optimize both the microstructure and chemistry simultaneously to achieve formability and to reduce the dependence on alloying. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Magnesium–yttrium-rare earth element alloys such as WE43 are potential candidates for future bioabsorbable orthopedic implant materials due to their biocompatibility, mechanical properties similar to human bone, and the ability to completely degrade in vivo . Unfortunately, the high corrosion rate of WE43 Mg alloys in physiological environments and subsequent loss of structural integrity limit the wide applications of these materials. In this study, the effect of chemical heterogeneity and microstructure on the corrosion resistance of two alloys with different metallurgical states was investigated: cast (as in traditional preparation) and as-deposited produced by magnetron sputtering. The corrosion behavior was studied by potentiodynamic polarization and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy tests in blood bank buffered saline solution. It was found that the as-deposited alloy showed more than one order of magnitude reduction in corrosion current density compared to the cast alloy, owing to the elimination of micro-galvanic coupling between the Mg matrix and the precipitates. The microstructure and formation mechanism of corrosion products formed on both alloys were discussed based on immersion tests and direct measurements of X-ray photoelectron spectrometry (XPS) and cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis. 
    more » « less