Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Chemical and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Yang-Tse Cheng

Second Advisor

Dr. David A. Puleo


Magnesium has been identified as a promising biodegradable implant material because it does not cause systemic toxicity and can reduce stress shielding. However, it corrodes too quickly in the body. Titanium, which is already used ubiquitously for implants, was chosen as the alloying element because of its proven biocompatibility and corrosion resistance in physiological environments. Thus, alloying magnesium with titanium is expected to improve the corrosion resistance of magnesium.

Mg-Ti alloys with a titanium content ranging from 5 to 35 at.-% were successfully synthesized by mechanical alloying. Spark plasma sintering was identified as a processing route to consolidate the alloy powders made by ball-milling into bulk material without destroying the alloy structure. This is an important finding as this metastable Mg-Ti alloy can only be heated up to max. 200C° for a limited time without reaching the stable state of separated magnesium and titanium. The superior corrosion behavior of Mg80-Ti20 alloy in a simulated physiological environment was shown through hydrogen evolution tests, where the corrosion rate was drastically reduced compared to pure magnesium and electrochemical measurements revealed an increased potential and resistance compared to pure magnesium. Cytotoxicity tests on murine pre-osteoblastic cells in vitro confirmed that supernatants made from Mg-Ti alloy were no more cytotoxic than supernatants prepared with pure magnesium. Mg and Mg-Ti alloys can also be used to make novel polymer-metal composites, e.g., with poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) to avoid the polymer’s detrimental pH drop during degradation and alter its degradation pattern.

Thus, Mg-Ti alloys can be fabricated and consolidated while achieving improved corrosion resistance and maintaining cytocompatibility. This work opens up the possibility of using Mg-Ti alloys for fracture fixation implants and other biomedical applications.