Medical Applications of Stainless Alloys

Owing to the unique combination of properties of stainless alloys they are indispensable in modern medicine.

The required materials properties include good corrosions resistance in body fluids, biocompatibility, good strength to-weight ratio, fatigue resistance and a low magnetic susceptibility. The term biocompatibility is not well-defined but can be described in simple terms as the ability to perform adequately in a specific situation in the human body.

The requirements are often so extreme that the properties of traditional stainless steels are insufficient. For instance, resistance to wear in joints often requires implants of Co-Cr alloys. In other applications titanium alloys are to be preferred owing to a phenomenon called osseointegration, which leads to excellent adherence between the implant and the bone. One of the first to implement osseointegration was the Swedish scientist Brånemark, who started to use dental implants of titanium in dental medicine in the mid-60s.

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