Beta-Ti3Au Titanium-Gold Alloy Hardest Tissue-Compatible Metal

A super-hard metal comprised of titanium and gold has been created by a team at Rice University in Houston. It is the hardest known alloy compatible with human tissue.

The material is four times harder than pure titanium and has applications in making longer-lasting medical implants, they say. Conventional knee and hip implants have to be replaced after about 10 years due to wear and tear. Details of the new metal - an alloy of gold and titanium - are revealed in the journal, Science Advances.

Prof Emilia Morosan, of Rice University, Houston, said her team had made the discovery while working on unconventional magnets made from titanium and gold.

The new materials needed to be made into powders to check their purity, but beta-Ti3Au, as it is known, was too tough to be ground in a diamond-coated mortar and pestle. The material "showed the highest hardness of all Ti-Au [titanium-gold] alloys and compounds, but also compared to many other engineering alloys", said Prof Morosan. She said the hardness of the substance, together with its higher biocompatibility, made it a "next generation compound for substantively extending the lifetime of dental implants and replacement joints".

Science fiction fans are always excited by advances in materials science. Start with this list - Materials in Science Fiction - and look at fictional alloys like scrith, durite, fanmetal and impervium.

Obviously, a better name than Beta-Ti3Au is needed - how about it, Professor Morosan?

Via BBC.

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