A comparative study of the cytotoxicity and corrosion resistance of nickel–titanium and titanium–niobium shape memory alloys Academic Article uri icon


  • Nickel-titanium (NiTi) shape memory alloys (SMAs) are commonly used in a range of biomedical applications. However, concerns exist regarding their use in certain biomedical scenarios due to the known toxicity of Ni and conflicting reports of NiTi corrosion resistance, particularly under dynamic loading. Titanium-niobium (TiNb) SMAs have recently been proposed as an alternative to NiTi SMAs due to the biocompatibility of both constituents, the ability of both Ti and Nb to form protective surface oxides, and their superior workability. However, several properties critical to the use of TiNb SMAs in biomedical applications have not been systematically explored in comparison with NiTi SMAs. These properties include cytocompatibility, corrosion resistance, and alterations in alloy surface composition in response to prolonged exposure to physiological solutions. Therefore, the goal of the present work was to comparatively investigate these aspects of NiTi (49.2 at.% Ti) and TiNb (26 at.% Nb) SMAs. The results from the current studies indicate that TiNb SMAs are less cytotoxic than NiTi SMAs, at least under static culture conditions. This increased TiNb cytocompatibility was correlated with reduced ion release as well as with increased corrosion resistance according to potentio-dynamic tests. Measurements of the surface composition of samples exposed to cell culture medium further supported the reduced ion release observed from TiNb relative to NiTi SMAs. Alloy composition depth profiles also suggested the formation of calcium phosphate deposits within the surface oxide layers of medium-exposed NiTi but not of TiNb. Collectively, the present results indicate that TiNb SMAs may be promising alternatives to NiTi for certain biomedical applications.

author list (cited authors)

  • McMahon, R. E., Ma, J. i., Verkhoturov, S. V., Munoz-Pinto, D., Karaman, I., Rubitschek, F., Maier, H. J., & Hahn, M. S.

citation count

  • 65

publication date

  • March 2012