A laboratory at Rice University has made a super-strong metal by melting titanium and gold together. The US physicists reveal that this titanium-gold alloy is the hardest known substance showing bio-compatibility; compatibility with the living tissues. This substance is four times harder than the pure titanium and has a wide range of applications like making medical implants that last even longer and possibly the Iron Man suits as well!
The traditional hip and knee implants are replaced every ten years owing to the wear and tear of the material. The material isn’t strong enough to survive inside the body any longer and thus, creating the need of the repeated surgeries. A paper published in the Science Advances Journal has revealed some characteristics of an alloy of gold and titanium. This alloy is the strongest material ever that is tissue-friendly and has quadrupled the strength of pure titanium.
Emilia Morosan, a Professor at Rice University, said that the material was discovered when it was being checked for purity. Purity check entails that the material is first ground into powder, but this new alloy named as ‘beta-Ti3Au’ was too hard to be crushed in the diamond-coated mortar and pestle. The material was made by melting titanium-3-gold (particular arrangement of three atoms of titanium for every atom of gold) at very high temperature, resulting in an extremely solid crystal structure.
“This alloy showed the highest hardness of all Ti-Au [titanium-gold] alloys and compounds, but also compared to many other engineering alloys”, said Prof Morosan. ” The unmatched hardness and high biocompatibility of Ti3Au has made it a “next generation compound for substantively extending the lifetime of dental implants and replacement joints”.
Titanium is one of the few metals that is strong enough to withstand wear and tear in a body and is compatible with body tissues, especially bone tissues. Such characteristics make it quite useful in medical and dental industry. Its applications extend to other industries as well such as sporting goods industry and drilling industries.
Did you know that Iron Man‘s suit is also made from titanium and gold?! This material can make its production possible. Who wants one?